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Kanye West Reveals How Kobe Bryant's Death Was a 'Game Changer' for Him

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Kanye West's friendship with Kobe Bryant impacted him in a massive way. The 42-year-old rapper covers the May issue of GQ magazine and opens up about how he plans to live his life like the late basketball star.

In January, Bryant, his daughter, Gianna Bryant, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash. West says he often drives down where the crash took place and says that he'll now always associate that area with the late Los Angeles Lakers player, who he calls one of his "best friends."

"Now there's no way for me not to be as determined as Kobe every time I drive down that street," he says. "It's game time. There's no move that we can't make, or that we'll wait to make."

"Everyone in our life is now a member of the Lakers on one of Kobe's championship teams," he continues. "The way that Kobe would say that we all have to come together and win this championship is the way I look at life now. To an infinite, other level. This is a game changer for me."

West notes that he and Bryant were quite similar in their viewpoints, even if their chosen careers were different.

"He was the basketball version of me, and I was the rap version of him, and that's facts!" he says. "We got the commercials that prove it. No one else can say this. We came up at the same time, together."

"And now it's like, yeah, I might have had a reputation for screaming about things -- but I'm not taking any mess for an answer now," West continues. "We're about to build a paradigm shift for humanity. We ain't playing with 'em. We bringing home the trophies."

That being said, West admits that he's considered giving up his rap career. 

"I was thinking of not rapping again, because I rapped for the devil so long that I didn’t even know how to rap for God," he shares. "And the last thing I ever said on [the Saint Pablo] tour was, ‘The show’s over.’ Which felt like my mom [Donda, who died in 2007,] talking through me…Like, ‘My son is not just here to fill up these sports arenas. My son’s got something else to do.'"

Kanye West
Tyler Mitchell

Following Bryant's death, West showed his latest Yeezy collection during Paris Fashion Week with the help of his and Kim Kardashian West's eldest daughter, 6-year-old North, who performed at the event. The show followed the tragedy of Bryant's death and came just before the severity of the coronavirus really set in, but West remains grateful for all of his experiences.

"I'm just proud of my daughter. It felt -- one conversation is about the end of the world. The next conversation is about the beginning," the father of four explains of the contrast of North's performance and the coronavirus. "Really, that's how it is out here! Two days ago, I sat there in the atelier [in Calabasas] as we all talked about the virus, and just thought: If we were to not be here anymore, all I can think is, What a wonderful life it is." 

"You think about those movies where the world is ending and I just simply thank God for life," he adds. "Thank God for all these experiences."

West also speaks about his political leanings and the upcoming presidential election between President Donald Trump, who he has supported in the past, and former Vice President Joe Biden. 

"So let me say this: I am the founder of a $4 billion organization, one of the most Google-searched brands on the planet, and I will not be told who I’m gonna vote on because of my color," he tells GQ. "I’m definitely voting this time. And we know who I’m voting on."

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