Earlier today (Oct. 2), TMZ published an interview with Shaquille O’Neal, who was asked about his recent musical drops and what fans can expect from him in the future. He responded by going on a tangent about his position among the ranks of other professional players-turned-hip hop artists.
“I have a couple of freestyles, it’s all competition for me. So when I hear the people that say, ‘I’m a better athlete-rapper than Shaq,’ I gotta step up,” he said. “Nothing personal. I just have to let these people know who paved the way. So for me, it’s all fun.”
Back in 1993, the four-time NBA champion made his official leap into the music world with Shaq Diesel, a 12-track effort with assists from Def Jef, Phife Dawg, and Fu-Schnickens. The project peaked at No. 25 on the Billboard 200 and crossed the platinum mark. In subsequent years, Shaq added to his impressive rap portfolio with the albums Shaq Fu: Da Return, You Can’t Stop the Reign, and Respect, complete with collaborations alongside the likes of Method Man, RZA, JAY-Z, Mobb Deep, Rakim, DJ Quik, Kobe Bryant, and The Notorious B.I.G.
Despite the success, he ultimately decided that being an emcee wasn’t bringing in enough revenue. “No disrespect to the rappers, but there wasn’t enough money in that game for me,” he explained. “I love rap and will always continue to.”
Finally, Shaq added to his initial comment about being the best of his kind while also acknowledging others who are currently making strides with a ball and a microphone. “When people say they’re better than Diesel, that means you want to compete. I just like competing. So I put stuff out, they put stuff out, and we let the people decide who the No. 1 is. I know who the No. 1 is. I’ma always say myself,” he stated. “They got a lot of guys that are coming. Dame Lillard‘s really nice. Iman Shumpert can go. Antonio Brown can go. All these guys can go. It’s all about competition.”
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