Shaq Reflects On Time Ice Cube Stopped Him From Releasing Dr. Dre-Produced “That’s Gangsta”

Shaquille O’Neal recently shared an intriguing anecdote about a musical decision that Ice Cube influenced significantly. The four-time NBA champion revealed that Cube intervened to prevent the release of a song titled “That’s Gangsta,” produced by the legendary Dr. Dre. The unexpected turn of events was recounted by Shaq and Cube during an episode of The Big Podcast, shedding light on the dynamic between the two icons.

In a surprising twist, Ice Cube, serving as an executive producer for one of Shaq’s projects, made the pivotal call to halt the release of “That’s Gangsta.” Shaq vividly recalled his experience in the studio with Dr. Dre, crafting a track that he believed showcased a different side of his artistry. However, Cube, upon hearing the song, swiftly vetoed its release, emphasizing that Shaq’s identity as a Lakers superstar and beloved figure transcended the themes of gangsta rap.

“Cube was executive producing one of my records,” Shaq said. “And he put me in the studio with Dr. Dre. I did a song called ‘That’s Gangsta.’ Cube heard it and was like, ‘Nope. We’re not releasing this.’ Dre did the beat.”

He continued, “I thought it was nice … And then I played it for Cube … He was like, ‘Shaq, you’re a fucking Laker, bro. I don’t want you talking about nothing gangsta. We not doing none of that shit.’ And it never came out.”

Acknowledging Shaq’s talent as an MC, Ice Cube expressed his belief that the song did not align with the larger-than-life persona that Shaq had cultivated over the years. Cube emphasized that Shaq’s positive impact and widespread adoration from fans, especially young audiences, made it essential for him to stay true to his image. The decision to nix “That’s Gangsta” stemmed from Cube’s conviction that Shaq should continue to move forward in his career, rather than revisiting a past that didn’t align with his public persona.

“Shaq is a dope MC, but I just felt the record was off-brand for him because, to me, he’s more than just gangsta,” Ice Cube said. “He’s loved by millions, loved by kids. He already established that. And why go backward when you’re already forward? You’re already a household name.”

Grateful for Cube’s guidance, Shaq reflected on the lesson learned from the incident, recognizing the importance of authenticity and staying true to oneself. Despite his musical ambitions, Shaq acknowledged that his admiration for basketball stars like Cube had influenced his own aspirations. Alongside his illustrious basketball career, Shaq ventured into the music industry, releasing four studio albums, with his debut effort Shaq Diesel achieving platinum status.

The interaction between Shaq and Ice Cube serves as a compelling example of the significance of artistic integrity and branding in the world of music. The decision to shelve “That’s Gangsta” highlights the complexities of navigating multiple facets of one’s identity and the importance of aligning creative output with one’s established image and values.