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Shaq vs. Kobe is better on hardwood than on wax

Although my passion has noticeably waned in recent years, mostly due to age, but more so because of the weak talent level by today's featured artists, I am still at heart a true fan of hip hop music.

As a child of the 1980s and teen during the 1990s growing up in suburban New York City, my entire existence was molded by hip hop culture from b-boy dancing on cut up cardboard boxes, a deejay mixing on two turntables and wearing African medallions.

So, when the news broke earlier this week of Shaquille O'Neal's freestyle rhyme putting Kobe Bryant on blast at a New York City nightclub, I couldn't help but laugh from the opening bar until the last note.

With so much commercial saturation and microwave rappers making summertime one-hit wonder singles, it was refreshing to hear an honest freestyle dis song.

It's just too bad that Shaq, like so many other rappers with limited skills, basically ripped off so many lines from hip hop legend, and my all-time favorite lyricist, The Notorious B.I.G.

While Shaq's lyrical content was horrendous at best, there were hidden messages that at least in the national media's eyes, resparked a feud between two of the most controversial teammates in the history of sports.

Hip hop has always painted a true picture of the community and the pulse of the people, so it's no surprise that those outside the rhyming cipher would be shocked by the raw unedited lyrics of MC Big Cactus - AKA - Shaq Daddy.

Rapping has always been about competition and I've witnessed, as well as participated in freestyle sessions, where a lot worse has been said about a foe in the heat of battle.

Clearly, this two-minute plus rant on the reigning MVP won't go down in the history of the genre as one of the greatest rhymes of all time. The only reason this story even has legs to begin with is because of Shaq and Kobe's larger than life personalities.

These are two grown millionaires who paid more in taxes than you and I will bring home in a lifetime.

I'm not better or worse off from their ever-changing relationship, and at the end of the day, we all know this is just another overblown story running across the newswires.

However, I am upset that O'Neal has now lost his special deputy's badge to work as a sheriff in Maricopa County.

According to reports, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has asked for his badges back because of O'Neal's racial remarks in his rhyme.

Come on Sheriff Arpaio, let's keep it real.

If anything, O'Neal's reference to the infamous N-word was more offensive to blacks than whites.

Besides, there have been tons of physical as well as verbal offenses by police officers over time than what was said in Shaq's freestyle, and those cops are still on their beat.

I honestly believe Shaq is a good man at heart and would admirably serve the community by working in law enforcement.

I just hope Kobe, who himself attempted to put out a rap album years ago, lets his game do the talking and responds back by hanging 50 on the Suns with an emphatic dunk in Shaq's face during their next encounter.

Since O'Neal likes using Biggie lyrics, I'll follow suit and ask this simple question -"What's Beef?"

Rory Sharrock is a sports writer for the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at rsharrock@news-daily.com