In 2011, after an insanely long and dominant career, Shaquille O’Neal retired from professional basketball. Since then, Shaq has filled his time by giving surly NBA commentary, appearing in fifty bajillion television commercials, and engaging in various goofy-ass rich-guy activities. (Earlier this year, for instance, Shaq tried his hand at professional wrestling.) Like so many celebrity weirdos before him, Shaq has gotten really into electronic dance music in recent years, and he’s gotten himself booked at a whole lot of festivals as DJ Diesel. Today, Shaq has released a new collaboration with Steve Aoki, the former punk who’s gotten famous as a nuance-free party-starter DJ. It’s called “Welcome To The Playhouse,” and it’s pretty funny.
A few years ago, the world got to see viral footage of Shaq in the crowd at a dance festival, absolutely having the time of his life. This was not an anomaly. Shaq booked his own festival in 2018, and he released a single called “Ultimate” in 2020. I’m delighted to report that “Welcome To The Playhouse,” Shaq’s latest, features Shaq rapping, which is something he’s been doing for like 30 years. Per my colleague Colling Robinson, Shaq is the second-best NBA rapper of all time. Shaq has songs with Biggie and Wu-Tang! And now he’s got one with Steve Aoki!
On “Welcome To The Playhouse,” Shaq opens things up with an evil laugh, and he raps about starting moshpits, paraphrases DMX, and claims that he’s about to jump all night, which is not really something that he did during his NBA career. Shaq also shouts the song’s title really loud, and I’m enjoying the image of him doing that in a recording studio. In a press release, Shaq says, “Working with Steve on ‘Welcome To The Playhouse’ was a blast. We went back and forth for hours together in his studio and eventually ended up with one of my favorite DIESEL releases to date. WELCOME TO THE PLAYHOUSE!” Experience “Welcome To The Playhouse” for yourself below.