New York-based Nas set the diamond standard for hip-hop albums with his debut work Illmatic. He also rapped with Shaq on the latter’s album, which is perhaps why he backed The Big Shamrock as the better rapper compared to Kobe Bryant at the 2012 ESPYs.
It’s no secret that many basketball players have aspired to be rappers in their childhood. A few of them are successful at releasing their own content.
Among modern NBA players, the one who comes to mind most easily is Damian Lillard. The Blazers superstar goes by the pseudonym Dame D.O.L.L.A when he’s releasing rap records.
Shaquille O’Neal, on the other hand, was a much goofier character than Lillard projects himself as. Thus, his work in hip-hop is on those themes as well.
However, Shaq got to rap with the very best in the business at their peak. The likes of Biggie and Nas have all worked with him. Kobe Bryant himself had a few rap records, but he wasn’t nearly as commercially successful as his big man.
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Nas believes Shaq was much better than Kobe Bryant as a rapper
Nas and Swiss Beatz were arriving at the 2012 ESPYs red carpet when they were stopped by the LA Times. The question to both of them was simple – who’s the better rapper, Kobe or Shaq?
Nas initially misheard the question and passed a compliment along to his colleague Swiss Beatz, calling him his equal. But once the question was properly relayed to him, his answer was logical and straightforward:
“Kobe or Shaq? Shaq got a classic hip-hop album! I don’t think Kobe got a chance to put out an album. So Shaq got a classic rap album, sold a million records, yeah. Shaq got that title.”
The LA Times also asked former Lakers forward Cedric Ceballos the same question on the carpet. Ceballos’ answer was a bit more detail-oriented, but essentially the same.