When O'Neal initiated his career as a rap musician in 1993, his debut single, "I Know I Got Skillz," was certified gold by December of the year. A debut album, Shaq Diesel, appeared also in 1993 and featured cameos by other popular artists and rap stars. It was certified platinum in 1994 (over 1,000,000 sold). His sophomore album, whimsically titled Shaq-Fu: Da Return, appeared in 1994 and was certified gold by January of 1995. A "best of" album appeared in 1996 and provided advance publicity for an all-new follow-up album, called You Can't Stop the Reign, which was released one week later. On this album O'Neal shared a track with a colleague, the late gangsta' rapper Christopher "Biggie Smalls" Wallace. In March 1997 the friendship came to a tragic end with the murder of Wallace not long after he and O'Neal shared a stage in West Hollywood.
O'Neal, having gained legitimacy for his recording career, returned in 1998 with another album, Respect. In 2001 he released an album for the new millennium, called Shaq O'Neal Presents His Super friends. Because O'Neal takes his identity in part from the ghetto life of his early years and in part from his life as an army brat, the rap albums brought validation to his image as a ghetto-child/rap icon and opened a new dimension to his persona.