Grammy-winning rapper Lil Wayne recently gave his take on all-star athletes trying their hand at his profession and which stars were naturally gifted with an ability to spit bars.
In Weezy F. Baby’s opinion, former NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal and two-time Super Bowl-winning ex-player Deion Sanders top his list.
“You know who I say has the most natural ability for it,” Wayne asked sports talk host Jim Rome. “Two guys. Shaquille O’Neal. Deion Sanders. Yeah, because Shaquille, he was into rap. When he was into it, he was just, as a rapper, he seemed just as into rapping or making sure his lyrics were tight just as he was into making sure his [basketball] game was tight. That was, props coming from a rapper. Prime, because he didn’t try to do no more, no less than what he do, period. And that’s perfect.” (“Jim Rome on Showtime”)
Earlier this year, rap veteran Nas called Shaq a better emcee than his ex-Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant.
Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant have had their fair share of verbal sparring bouts when they were teammates on the Lakers from 1996-2004. According to rapper Nas, who has released eight consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums since 1994, one of basketball stars might be a bit more glib than the other. When asked who is a better rapper, Nas said, “Shaq got that. Shaq got a classic hip-hop album. I don’t think Kobe got a chance to put out an album.” (Los Angeles Times)
Since the early 1990’s, Shaq has put out multiple hip-hop albums.
With a little help from his friends (production came from Fu-Schnickens, Ali from A Tribe Called Quest, Def Jef, and Erick Sermon), basketball’s brightest star of the early ’90s, Shaquille O’Neal, released Shaq Diesel, a 1993 album showcasing his moderate rapping talents. The following year, he released Shaq-Fu: Da Return. In 1996, O’Neal released The Best of Shaquille O’Neal early in November, followed a week later by his third album, You Can’t Stop the Reign. He returned in 1998 with Respect. (All Music)
Last year, Deion Sanders spoke to SOHH about the rising trend of athletes wanting to rap.
“I think there’s a commonality that athletes and [music] entertainers share,” Sanders told SOHH. “Athletes have a dream about being an entertainer. We want to entertain in some form or fashion. And then you have a lot of [music] entertainers who dream about being an athlete. That’s why you see a lot of them playing in these celebrity charity games. They want to show off their athletic skills because they never made it into that realm and we never made it to the other side. It just so happens you have the notoriety and means to be able to fulfill some of your dreams. That’s where it came from. That’s what I did, fulfilled a dream. That’s what Shaq, Iverson, Kobe and many of the others did. I’m sure they just fulfilled the dream they had. Whether it’s with a basketball in your hands or a microphone.” (SOHH)
Check out Lil Wayne’s interview: