How EDM “Revitalized a Sense of Urgency and Passion” in Shaquille O’Neal [Interview]

DJ Diesel caught up with to chat about the way his love of electronic music drove him after the lights of NBA arenas went out.

Sports and music are linked in their capacity to bring individuals together. At the crux of both –and probably the center of attentionis now-retired basketball icon and present mainstage festival DJ, Shaquille O’Neal.

Though a casual fan may only be acquainted with his Hall of Fame NBA career, diehards of this legend understand he’s anything but one-dimensional. His passion drove him to carry out one of the greatest professions in NBA history, but when the lights in the stadium went out, O’Neal frequently sought out his next love: music.

DJ Diesel first began to understand how to combine audio back in 1988 while attending and enjoying basketball in Cole High School at San Antonio, Texas. DJing excited people and brought in an audience, therefore he gravitated towards what he does best: amuse. This hobby followed him to Louisiana State University, where he began performing for mates in between games.

“Back in the 80s I was spinning rap, hip-hop, and even R&B,” said O’Neal, who caught up with after both of his former teams–that the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat–confronted at the NBA Finals. “I was that guy on the LSU team spinning in the locker room.”

While DJ Diesel is known today for performing epic dubstep, his music career began with hip-hop in 1993 via his debut studio record, Shaq Diesel. The record –which comprised Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Def Jef, and Erick Sermon–went and spurred three additional rap jobs, effectively relegating DJing to the seat for the rest of his NBA career. Following his retirement in 2011he reinvigorated his love for mixing via the high heeled genre of dubstep. Despite the personality gaps, O’Neal insists he does not have any preference and loves everything.

“Both define me now and then… if that makes sense,” said O’Neal. “I will forever love the hip-hop classics. They are a piece of me that inspired Shaq-Fu, among many other personas in my life. [But] my playlists consist of both genres when putting my headphones on and that’s how it has to be. Dubstep will continue to run through my veins.” 

This expansion into EDM–described by O’Neal as a struggle which has given new meaning in his post-basketball life–was started in 2015 while attending the most now-defunct Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia dancing music festival TomorrowWorld. Having focused on basketball for most of his life, O’Neal resonated greatly with the prevalent pleasure and unity these occasions inspired. 

“To be honest, I didn’t really appreciate and understand the depths of electronic music until [attending TomorrowWorld],” O’Neal told “Being there revitalized a sense of urgency and passion inside of me that I’ve been craving since dunking on a defender’s head in the postseason.”

Only a couple of years later, O’Neal has emerged as an eccentric and lively headlining addition to the dubstep scene, embraced entirely by his own newfound peers. His sold-out”Shaq’s Fun House” shows quickly crystallized as must-see occasions out of Vegas to Miami and he’s shown himself as an extremely enviable collaborator from the bass scene, evidenced by his own April 2020 SiriusXM flow that boasted appearances by leading artists such as Zeds Dead, NGHTMRE, along with Snails, among others.

DJ Diesel has additionally performed in Lost Lands, Red Rocks, and famous Chicago music festival Lollapalooza, at which he resigned a landmark collection .  He is not likely to play at any festivals or clubs due to the effects of COVID-19, however to get a drive-in series, he appears receptive to this idea. “A’Diesel Drive In’ has a nice ring to it,” he explained.

Like all DJs, O’Neal had to accommodate this season due to this persistent outbreak, which forced the vast majority of festivals and clubs to postpone or cancel events. Not one to sit idly, O’Neal assembled his own home studio in Atlanta, where he & “spent hours per day focusing on music. ”

DJ Diesel’s latest tune, “Tear It Up,” a collaboration with bass star Eliminate, is rooted in snare music. He says that an EP is on the horizon, as well as more virtual collections as well as other tricks up his sleeve when it comes to his music. If asked if potential productions would comprise more hip, he just replied,”Yup,” with a smile.

Despite his infectious passion for whatever he does, some naysayers still doubt that the legitimacy of O’Neal’s electronic music aspirations. Celebrities are known to commence forays into DJing in order to capitalize on money grab chances, however, the DJ Diesel job is anything but a manufacture. His love for music is unassailable and his capacity to ignite crowds has returned a feeling of fulfillment unmatched because his NBA days. 

“The only feeling similar to a game seven monstrous dunk, which I know a lot about, is a dubstep banger blasting out of festival speakers with CO2 and fire going off,” O’Neal exults. “Those moments bring people together and I am here for it.”



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