Third Degree Bern
"Do you want me to shoot it? NOOO!
Do you want me to pass it? NOOO!
Do you want me to slam (on Kobe Bryant)? YEEAAH!"
Those are some of the lyrics, slightly modified, from the landmark 1993 album entitled, "Shaq Diesel," the debut of Shaquille O'Neal the rapper/comedian.
Diesel may not have been required listening for some of you, but I'm here to tell you that there hasn't been a better unintentionally comedic album on the market in the past 30 years.
Sure there are some decent beats and Shaq does his best to kick out some legit rhymes, but most are just ridiculously awesome.
This is from the first single, "(I Know I Got) Skillz" which peaked at no. 35 on the Billboard top 100 charts.
"I got a hand that'll rock ya cradle,
Cream you like cheese, spread you on my bagel.
My Ford Explorer boomin' with the clumped-up funk,
All you jealous punks can't stop my dunks."
Now try and imagine that in Shaq's lower than bass, booming voice. If you're not laughing, there's something very wrong with you.
It's this knowledge and admiration for Mr. O'Neal's mad mic skills that makes me wonder why everyone is outraged by his recent free styling at a New York City nightclub.
If you haven't seen the video yet, go right now and look it up because it's well worth the three-minute time investment. In fact, I'll just put this column on hold so you can scurry off to youtube.
(Singing to myself, "Don't fake the funk on a nasty dunk")
Awesome, you're back. Wasn't that hilarious?
There's a lot of talk about Shaq slamming former running mate Kobe Bryant ("Check it, you know how I be, last week Kobe couldn't do without me"), but what else was he supposed to do? Rapping, particularly free style rapping, isn't about complimenting someone unless your name is Will Smith.
The crowd loves insults and I defy you to name a better target for the Big Aristotle right now. Just last week Bryant was beat down by the Celtics and lost his first post-Shaq NBA Finals.
Bryant was ripe for the picking and the Diesel was just the man to do it. That doesn't mean there was any actual negativity in the remarks.
Shaq is a born entertainer and he knew exactly how to put the crowd in the palm of his enormous hands. In the video you notice that the rhymes steer away from Kobe (Shaq 'insults' Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Patrick Ewing, though neither of them have complained) but when that doesn't get the fans chuckling he goes right back to his purple and gold mine.
Would it have been better for Shaq to never take the mic? Yes.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio requested that Shaq return his special deputy's badge because of the offensive language in the video (apparently Mr. Arpaio has never heard one of his albums).
But the fact is he did take the mic then say some supposedly offensive things and I love him for it. Shaq is the best character in sports because he speaks the truth in comedic ways.
Are Shaq and Kobe best friends forever? Probably not, but I seriously doubt this most recent episode had any effect on that.
Moreover, thinking it did would be a bigger mistake than nominating Shaq Diesel for best rap album of the 90s. For both the album and this situation I have come up with the perfect solution: just laugh.