Shaquille O’Neal has made a triumphant return to the music scene.
Videos by American Songwriter
The former NBA legend has officially (May 2) dropped “King Talk,” a collaboration with fast-rising artist Blackway. The track serves as O’Neal’s first release since his four hip-hop albums in the ’90s.
The two joined forces with critically acclaimed producer, Koko. In an exclusive interview, the professional athlete turned musician told People that being a part of the song was a no-brainer and knew he had to “jump on it.”
“I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment for a collab with Blackway, and this was it,” shared O’Neal. “This is the type of record that gets me hyped like I’m walking out for Game 7 of the finals.”
O’Neal declared that the collaboration has been a long time coming, as Koko has been “sending beats back and forth for a minute now.”
The icon teased the spit-fire rap in early February with an animated video. Within the clip, he honors LeBron James for passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record-breaking number. James is now the NBA’s leading scorer. O’Neal shared that it was the “perfect” time to preview the song, as the empowering lyrics fit the “vibe.”
“So perfect for the moment when LeBron James set the NBA scoring record,” he uttered to the outlet. “Had to share it with the world. A king recognizes a king,” he concluded.
Shortly after the sneak peek, O’Neal and Blackway received positive praise from music and sports fans alike.
“Wish Kobe had witnessed this…,” said a follower referring to Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in 2020.
“Simply awesome,” wrote another.
“THAT KING TALK!!!!” added Blackway.
O’Neal revealed that he was stunned by the overwhelming reaction from listeners.
“It was crazy to see so many people connect with the song when they heard the teaser,” he explained. “Just like I did when we created it.”
According to People, Blackway was placed on O’Neal’s radar back in 2018 when his single “What’s Up Danger,” featuring Black Caviar, appeared in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. The unexpected duet follows his solo single “Lion” (March 10) and 2022 hit “Ready For Anything.” The emerging rapper is currently working on an EP. It is unclear when the project will be released.
O’Neal has an ear for captivating beats. His album Shaq Diesel quickly went platinum upon release in 1993. The 12-song collection includes “What’s Up Doc? (Can We Rock)” with FU-Schnickens and “(I Know I Got) Skillz,” which both scored placement in Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. While his 1994 record Shaq Fu: Da Return went gold, his third record [You Can’t Stop the Reigh] included collaborations with Jaz-Z, Raakim, Notorious B.IG., Peter Gunz, and more.
His final album [Respect] before taking a hiatus from music in 1998, included a song with Kobe Bryant. Since the release, O’Neal has become a DJ and has played at notable festivals worldwide.