Shaquille O'Neal
Da Return


2.0
poor

Review

by Peter M. USER (27 Reviews)
May 27th, 2014 | 15 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Shaquille O'Neal's sophomore record exposes a more vulnerable side of Shaq, but it's very mimimal and still plagued by the flaws and errors that befell his debut album.

Shaquille O'Neal had become one of the biggest names in the NBA during 1994, with his brutal devastating style of play and massive size. He wasn't just popular for that, he became infamous for his December 1992 interview with Arsenio Hall and the rap performance he put out. His debut 1993 album "Shaq Diesel" sent shockwaves throughout the entire music industry, earning some of its singles on regular rotation on the radio and music channels like BET and MTV. A first for a professional athlete, the next year that album would garner platinum certification from the RIAA which hasn't been duplicated since. A mega commercial success, but slammed by music critics for his clumsy and often funny lyricism, Shaq tried replicating the success of his debut record with his 1994 album "Shaq Fu: Da Return". While it didn't earn nearly as much success as it his debut record, it still managed to pull off a gold certification from the RIAA and still ended up getting fantastic sales. While "Shaq Diesel" was a laughable and weak debut record, "Shaq Fu: Da Return" had some well-needed improvements along with a star-studded roster of producers and guest artists but still wasn't enough to combat the flaws of Shaq's rapping technique and lyricial style.

What makes it a bit better than "Shaq Diesel" is the fact that he shied away more from the comical, chuckle-worthy raps that occupied his first record. Shaquille goes on and makes more music that shows otherwise more dimensions of his being. "Biological Didn't Bother" is easily the best track overall on the record, telling the masses of the personal relationship Shaq's step-dad Phil had with him, when his biological father didn't want anything to do with him. While the hook does take a page out of Pete Rock and C.L Smooth's "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y)", this heartfelt rap definitely delivered otherwise a pretty decent performance from Big Shaq. Even better is that he put out another version of this song, with the other one being a G-Funk edition featuring Warren G and a twangy guitar beat. What is surprising about the second version is that it actually outdoes the original version, which seemed to be impossible considering the first one was good in it of itself. Another standout track is the Erick Sermon-produced "Shaq's Got It Made", blasting a jazzy flavor into the mix. Shaq again throws up nice lines, bragging about how he has it all with playing basketball, writing raps, the fact he can sing, and that he can be a gentlemen to the ladies. What is also pretty sweet of Shaq is his loyalty to the sponsors who support him, as in this track he gives mention to Pepsi, which is cleverly worked into his raps. He flows well in this track, but he it does get a bit lackluster with a bit too much braggadoccio.

Shaq Fu however didn't get away scott-free from some of the numerous flaws that O'Neal displays with his clunky and slow rapping technique. He also reverted to his comedic lines again, which do come out as pretty funny but fails to reciept any warranty of creditability. "My Style, My Stelo" with Redman and Sermon puts that all on the window, showing the side of Shaq that unfortunately caused his debut record to get virtually panned by the critics. O'Neal's raps just weren't on-par with this funky groovy beat, as he gets easily outshined by Redman and Sermon also gives a better performance than he did. It was pretty visible throughout the album, with other guest artists literally outdoing Shaq like in "Freaky Flow" with General Sha and Mr. Ruffneck. Shaquille tried to flex a little more in this one, but it eventually backfired on him in the end. Shaq even tried to knock it with Keith Murray on the track "Newark To C.I" which didn't turn out well with this time Murray being the star of the show. Production-wise and guest-wise is a major reason why Shaq Fu doesn't get more negative reception than it gets, with talented producers led by Warren G, RZA and Erick Sermon dropping more authentic, hardcore rap beats. The guest appearances are very well done too, with guys like Keith Murray, Warren G, and Redman delivering slick lines when Shaq couldn't.

"Shaq Fu: Da Return" sees some well-needed improvements, with O'Neal starting to touch on personal subjects and supplies the fans with another side of his being. The production overall was pretty good, with not one track having a single bad beat in them which is of course what you would expect from guys like RZA and Erick Sermon. The star-studded appearances from Redman and others also shine, even going to lengths where Shaquille certainly couldn't go. The sophomore release however does have plenty of lackluster moments, the majority of it being the mediocre rapping and goofy lyrics that plagued his first release of music material. Fortunately that would all shift entirely in his third album "You Can't Stop The Reign" two years later in 1996, but this sophomore release just doesn't cut it. It comes off as a nice improvement from his extremely weak debut and is worth a try because it is Shaquille O'Neal, but Shaq Fu still failed to hit on-target just like it did for the video game.



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user ratings (15)
Chart.
2.5
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Comments:Add a Comment 
SPRFanOf5H
May 27th 2014


236 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Fuck, that was it. My last review on a Shaq album, probably ever since there isn't enough to review his fifth one that got put on here. It only had a few singles released, with the album given to Shaq's closest friends apparently. Unfortunate, but take it in people and enjoy what is likely to be the final Shaq review here from me at least on Sputnik.

skeames1214
May 27th 2014


2713 Comments


i'm so happy that there is a sincere review of a shaquille o'neal album on the internet

sixdegrees
May 27th 2014


17231 Comments


Will Smith discography reviews next?

Digging: Swinging Popsicle - Fennec!

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2014


6322 Comments


You are doing God's work with these discog reviews, Peter. God's work!

Digging: maudlin of the Well - Leaving Your Body Map

SPRFanOf5H
May 27th 2014


236 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

May just do Will Smith discography reviews next sixdegrees! Gotta plan it all out, really want to review "PeteStrumentals" by Pete Rock and "The Main Ingredient" by Rock and C.L Smooth but I'll likely do Will Smith since you bring it up.

Feedback is much appreciated guys, thanks again for the nice comments too that's why I love doing this.

sixdegrees
May 27th 2014


17231 Comments


heck yeah

Greyvy
May 27th 2014


4776 Comments


Well, after reviewing The Big Shaqtus' discog, it would only be right to review his teammate's. I suggest you review this, (https://rateyourmusic.com/release/single/kobe_bryant/k_o_b_e_/) so Kobe won't be left out.

(Release is not in Sputnikmusic's database for some reason.)

SPRFanOf5H
May 27th 2014


236 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Damn a bunch of people already beat me to reviewing Will Smith, so I guess that is out of the equation unless you guys would like my reviews on it. Oh well, but I'll see what I can do about Kobe Bryant, gotta make sure this is an album we're talking here.

SharkTooth
May 28th 2014


5268 Comments


Eddie Murphy

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
May 28th 2014


6322 Comments


Eddie Murphy [100000]

SPRFanOf5H
May 28th 2014


236 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Done, I'll buy these albums guys and try to get one of them reviewed by the end of today but cannot guarantee. Thanks for the find guys.

SharkTooth
May 28th 2014


5268 Comments


do Eddie Murphy first plz

SPRFanOf5H
May 28th 2014


236 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thats what im gonna do! Listening to his debut album right now, ill get the review done hopefulky late tonight.

LambsBread
May 28th 2014


3618 Comments


Better than most all rap that is popular on this site

SharkTooth
May 28th 2014


5268 Comments


I look forward to that review!



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