Mamba Mentality

Album: Balance (2020)
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Songfacts®:

  • This song is a tribute to Kobe Bryant, the Lakers' star who died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. His nickname was "Black Mamba" (a Kill Bill reference) and he called his mindset the "Mamba Mentality."

    Jevon Alexander was working on a beat when he found out Bryant had died. "I was in my basement pacing back and forth calling everybody, watching the news," he said on the Songfacts Podcast. "I was sitting there looking at what everyone was posting about him and I cried. When this happened I had finished the beat I was working on and thought that I wanted to write something about him. Not in an RIP Kobe way, but just something about him. I sat there and said 'mamba mentality' out loud so many times and it stuck.

    I got done with the hook and was like, 'I need to record this at the studio tomorrow so I can release it on all sharing platforms as early as possible.' At 2 a.m. I had the first verse and the hook done. I was thinking I'm gonna go to bed, and as I was closing my laptop the thought came into my head, what would Kobe do? So I finished it off, and it came out eight days later."
  • "Mamba Mentality" was released in 2020 on Alexander's first full-length album, Balance, and later picked up for the PlayStation video game NBA 2K21 Next Generation, which features Kobe Bryant.
  • Alexander does some speed rapping on this one, repeating the title over and over rapid-fire. That's not his typical style, but it suited the track. "On social media you see a lot of people talking about fast rappers and saying, 'What are they saying?'" he told Songfacts. "I never wanted to be one of those people saying something so fast, but with 'Mamba Mentality' I had just started saying it that fast and it was what was natural with the song. I don't have any fast rap songs other than the first part of this song."
  • Alexander isn't a Lakers fan, but like many, was influenced by Bryant and will always remember exactly where he was when he heard news of his death. "His death showed me way more than his basketball highlights ever could have shown," he said. "Just seeing how many people he's impacted made me think that if I could inspire just 1% of the people that Kobe inspired, that's a successful life for me. That's how many people he has inspired outside of basketball."

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