It looks like NBA All-Star Shaquille O'Neal has his bags packed for an imminent trip out of L.A. — and if Virginia rapper Skillz has any say, the Diesel will be out of the rap game for good, too. Skillz has teamed up with DJ P Cutta & DJ Whoa for a special version of Cutta's popular Street Wars mixtape series. This one's titled Street Wars: The Finals (Skillz vs. Shaq), and almost the entire mixtape is dedicated to Skillz dissing Shaq.
If you remember, round one of the saga popped off last month when Shaq apparently leveled the first blow against Skillz on DJ Sickamore's Drop Another Day mixtape with lines like, "I don't care how mad your skills is, you can't serve me." Shortly after, in an interview with MTV News, Skillz said he was not only going to retaliate against number 34 after the NBA finals, but he was going to try to humiliate him (see "Shaq Attack On Mixtape Track Has MC Skillz Striking Back").
The time is now.
Skillz vs. Shaq starts with the MTV News segment where the story of the back-and-forth was reported, then Skillz unleashes his first assault. Rapping over the track from Jadakiss' "The Champ Is Here," the freestyle champ says, "You versus me, that's a sad one/ I killed your rap career, as if you ever had one ... When you see me, have nothing to say/ Treat me like your lazy eye and start going the other way."
Skillz also responds to the Internet rumors that the whole lyrical beef with Shaq was just a publicity stunt and that Skillz, in fact, wrote Shaq's initial dis. Skillz denied it and further explained this Friday morning (July 9) to MTV News.
"Somebody from a Web site in V.A. [Virginia] — without even asking me — put it up, like, 'Yeah, we spoke to Shaq's people and it's all a publicity stunt to make a buzz for Skillz,' " he said. "They said I wrote for him in the past and that my payment was for him to do a rap dissing me. That would make me the dumbest ghostwriter in the world. How you gonna pay me for a rap with another rap? I never wrote for Shaq. "I don't know where that would come from."
After listening to Skillz vs. Shaq, it's very difficult to imagine that O'Neal would agree to the kind of tongue-lashing he receives. Although Skillz stays away from the rap-beef M.O. of today — where MCs threaten to kill you, your family, your labelmates and your next-door neighbors — the V.A. line-thrower does go for the jugular with fun, spirited punchlines.
There's a freestyle where he raps over 50 Cent's "Back Down" beat, telling Shaq, "That garbage you mumbled over the track/ I can write for Yao Ming, and he'd probably sound better than that/ The Lakers' dynasty, that's over, n---a/ That goes for you, Payton, Malone and Kobe, n---a."
The most humor-filled moments on the mixtape come via "99 Free Throws," a freestyle that uses the flow pattern and instrumental from Jay-Z's "99 Problems."
"99 free throws and you won't hit one/ When you at the foul line, I feel bad for you, son," he jabs. "Once a rappin' ball player tried to dis me in his flow/ Not a rappin' ballplayer in the sense he could rap/ Well, actually none of them are really good at that ... You know the type/ They got cake, so they hype/ Got a bunch of yes-men telling them they sh-- is tight."
"Some people may say [that doing a whole mixtape about Shaq] is a bit much, but I'm the rebuttal guy," Skillz explained. "I'm responding to somebody. There was a lot of things I wanted to say and couldn't fit in one song. After I did 'The Champ Is Here,' I was done — then '99 Free Throws' just came into my mind. The beat for 'Back Down' was so hard, I said, 'Let me give him a good five or six songs.' "
Skillz is heading to Paris Friday for a couple of weeks of touring, and he just returned from Spain. The MC said word of his and Shaq's feud has even reached there.
"People that don't even speak English were like, 'Shaquille O'Neal,' " he laughed. "I'm sitting there like, 'Yo, this is huge.' I didn't expect that kind of attention from it, but it's not going to go on. It's not no big beef to me. You won't hear nothing else from me if I don't hear nothing else from Shaq. I just had to respond."