Nicki Minaj is a great rapper. I would argue, in fact, that Nicki Minaj is the best rapper. But, if we're just going by stats, there are still veterans in the rap game she, a relatively new arrival, has to catch up with.
I'm talking about Shaq, obviously. Because at the end of the day, Nicki just put out her third album, while Shaq has put out four, plus a greatest hits compilation. Like Nicki Minaj, his debut went platinum. In total, not only has Shaq logged more than 20 years in the rap game, he also averaged nearly 24 points and 11 rebounds per game in the basketball game. And he's won four NBA championships.
Obviously, the world would be watching raptly last night as Shaq and Nicki Minaj finally had a showdown in a cypher on TNT's "Inside the NBA." Also participating were hosts Kenny Smith and Grant Hill (among the many highlights of the video you are about to watch is the part where Kenny Smith calls Grant Hill a Republican for writing down his lines and Grant says he's "VERY LIBERAL"). But nobody was fiending for the mic more than Shaq, who's had a quiet few years but who still showed up looking fierce with a grill. Look at his enthusiasm:
That is a dude who is rapping like he has been waiting a million years for a chance to rap on national television. And his bars are so fire that your Supreme snapback will literally turn into a Lakers hat and you'll realize you're wearing a Miami jersey because of all the HEAT you just heard. Shaq drops references to all his endorsement deals and asks Nicki Minaj to marry him, and then he goes in so hard he literally becomes unintelligble. I repeat: Shaq actually blacks out rapping. I re-repeat: He Shaqs out rapping.
Holy shit. THE AMOUNT OF FLAMES. THE ICY HOTNESS OF THAT VERSE. One might call it HEAT THERAPY...
Artist's rendering of Shaq's verse
Can Nicki come back after this? Or are Shaq's bars too fierce? You'll have to watch below to find out! (Spoiler alert: Nicki Minaj is still the best rapper alive, and she ends her verse with a punchline about riding the bass (base) line like 'quille O'Neal). The only thing we can confirm is that somebody drops the mic and walks off, and that somebody is other co-host Ernie Johnson. Anyway, watch on to see the fiercest rap battle of 2014:
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