During simpler times, you know, when Shaq was dropping rap albums, the Hall of Fame basketball star linked up with The Notorious B.I.G. for “Still Can’t Stop the Reign,” a track off his 1996 album, You Can't Stop the Reign.
Speaking with Ebro on Beats 1 on Apple Music earlier today, Shaq revealed that Biggie actually had to re-record his feature verse on their collaboration as the first version was too explicit.
“I get in contact with Puff and Big, and I said, ‘Hey, sorry to bother you, I’m doing my rap album,’ and they said, ‘Yeah, we saw you on The Arsenio Hall Show, and we heard some of your stuff,’” Shaq recalled. “I get the track, and I lay it—I don’t like it. I re-lay it and keep doing it because I don't want to do it in front of [Biggie], in case it’s wack… I called him down, and I played it for him. He was rocking with it, and he was like, ‘Okay, big fella, that’s tight.’
“He went in there, and when I tell you he killed it in one take, I ain’t never seen nothing like that. But—the first take—and I’m the only one with a copy, and it'll never get released because I never do it to him… he went in. He was like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s right, my bad. It’s for the kids, for the kids.' And then he went in and did that verse.”
It’s hard to determine what the funnier piece of hip-hop history is here: Shaq being too nervous to record in front of Big or Big having to lay a fresh verse because his original verse was too dirty? Perhaps the biggest gag of all is where once Shaq was worried about “the kids” hearing an influx of curses on a verse, we now have labels signing 12-year-olds off viral videos, for better or worse.
Maybe rap’s young and raucous new wave will inspire Shaq to give us a peek behind the door of Biggie's vaulted verse.