When Shaq Attacks: Shaquille O'Neal's 6 Best Rap Moments
Shaquille O’ Neal’s rap skills should come at no surprise to any basketball fan. Back when he played for the Orlando Magic in the early '90s, Shaq spent his free time in the studio with a gang of hip-hop legends. From A Tribe Called Quest to Ice Cube to cyphers with the Wu Tang Clan’s Method Man and RZA that he organized, rap’s most prominent stars have acknowledged and respected The Diesel.
Last week, The Big Aristotle came out of retirement to call out the Big Baller Brand founder and boisterous basketball dad, Lavar Ball in a diss track. Produced by Bink!, Shaq fires shots at Ball while brillantly flowing over the Anthony Hamilton-sampled “Mama Knew Love." Even after a 20-year hiatus, O'Neal's wordplay has Ball feeling the after effects of the “Shaq Attack.”
Despite placing his microphone down in favor of his television gig on TNT's Inside the NBA, Billboard takes a look back at some of Shaq's most memorable moments on the mic.
Take a listen below.
Song: "You Can't Stop the Reign" Featuring The Notorious B.I.G.
Best lines: “I crash flights on sights of my enemies/ I'm comin through, and then I bomb your whole vicinity”
Shaq knew that he would go down in history as one of the only NBA players to link up with The Notorious B.I.G. in the studio. Nearly a year before he met his demise in ’97, Biggie threw down a couple verses on the title track of his third studio LP You Can’t Stop The Reign. There was no room for candy bars or mediocre rhymes on this record. With a major cosign from Bad Boy Entertainment’s shining star, Shaq made sure that he could keep up with the illest MC of their time.
Song: "Strait Playtin'"
Best lines: "We can cut through the red tape and bust through the fakers/ Keep your eye on big Shaq and put your money on the Lakers.”
Although the East Coast developed his rapping skills, Shaq let West Coast gangsta rap influence his budding music career by linking up with Warren G on his second album Shaq Fu: Da Return. In ’96, Shaq dropped his third album You Can't Stop the Reign, which included the hit single “Strait Playin’." The record had Compton written all over it, thanks to DJ Quik’s production and slick bars. However, Shaq used the funky, urban instrumental to rep his new team and home in L.A to the fullest.
Song: "Where You At" Featuring Phife Dawg
Best Line: “I've got mad props so why would you exploit/Punch you in your face like that kid from Detroit”
Shaq’s debut album Shaq Diesel had a few memorable records produced by Ali Shaheed Mohammud. So it wasn’t hard to get the late Phife Dawg to throw down a verse or two. “Where You At?” is a slight nod to A Tribe Called Quest’s “Check the Rhime.” Instead of inviting Q-Tip into the cypher, Shaq takes his place and responds to Phife’s question in the hook: “Yo Shaq, where ya at?” asks Phife. “Phife, I’m over here,” Shaq replies. If Q-Tip and Jarobi White had actually joined in on this record, it might have been a bigger deal than it is today.
Song: "No Hook"
Best Lines: “So here me comes! Quick to beat you down Like the RZA on the drums!”
When you link with the RZA, all creative control is out of the question. For his second album Shaq Fu: Da Return, Shaq hit the studio with the Wu-Tang Clan’s master producer and one of its stand-out MCs, Method Man, for “No Hooks.” Unlike his other records, Shaq didn’t need to make up a catchy hook since he had Staten Island’s finest lyricists throwing down killer bars. They simply said, “We don’t need no hooks” in between each verse. As the introductory track, it set a unique tone that glorified just how special Shaq’s second album was to the music industry.
Song: "Men of Steel" Feat. Ice Cube, KRS-One, B-Real & Peter Gunz
Best Lines: “Next MC that claim to keep it real/ Shaquille gon' smack 'em with a mil”
Shaq made sure to bring his A-game when he linked up with a mob of legendary rappers on “Men Of Steel.” Despite being surrounded by heavyweights like Ice Cube, KRS-One, B-Real and Peter Gunz, Shaq holds his own and even drops several clever lines.
Song: "LaVar Ball Diss Track"
Best Lines: “Watch your mouth, don’t ever step outta line/ Shaq O’Neal, bro – greatest of all time”
Even in 2017, Shaq thinks it’s better to deal with all beef in the booth. The sports media personality brought Shaq Diesel out of retirement just to let Ball know who the original big baller in the NBA is, and that he’s nowhere near Shaq’s level of greatness. Shaq warns Ball not to “step outta line,” but if it happens again, Shaq will have to show him who the real G.O.A.T. is.