Not even heading into the playoffs with his fellow Los Angeles Lakers could distract Shaquille O’Neal from his love of rocking the mic.
It just slowed him down a bit. The NBA all-star is due to drop Shaquille O’Neal Presents His Superfriends on August 7, having secured a new distribution deal for his imprint, TWIsM, with Trauma Records. The album was originally due in July; the label said it had been pushed back because of the Lakers’ playoff schedule.
Shaq has Superfriends, indeed; as with his four previous albums, O’Neal — who has recorded with everyone from Jay-Z to members of the Wu-Tang Clan — called upon the likes of Mos Def, Angie Stone, Twista, 112, Jayo Felony, Memphis Bleek, Talib Kweli and Ludacris for the LP, according to a Trauma rep.
Common, Black Thought, Black Rob, Joi, Next frontman R.L. and Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz have also signed on for the album, the rep said.
Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz, who scored big in 1998 with “Deja Vu (Uptown Baby),” will also finally release their solo records on TWIsM (shorthand for “The World Is Mine”) as part of O’Neal’s new deal.
So far Shaq has come up with eight tracks for Superfriends, including “Connected,” featuring WC and Nate Dogg. The track is set for release on April 23, though a video is not in the works at this time; Shaq is more interested in getting an early buzz on the streets, the rep said.
Shaq records almost every night after Laker home games and sometimes stays in the studio until 6 a.m., the rep said, adding that while some people from the label have suggested Shaq tone down his recording schedule as the playoffs approach, he scoffs at the notion, saying it’s his only outlet outside the arena.
O’Neal and the Pacific Division champion Lakers take on the Portland Trailblazers in the first round of the NBA playoffs starting April 22.
(This story was updated at 4:14 p.m. ET Friday, April 20, 2001.)