When TomorrowWorld unveiled their 2015 lineup earlier this year, all of the usual suspects were there – Hardwell, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Tiesto, and Martin Garrix just to name a few – but hidden in the depths of the lineup was a name that few expected to see, Shaq AKA DJ Diesel. The 4x NBA Champion and Los Angeles Lakers great was scheduled to perform at TomorrowWorld during a primetime set at 8 pm, and very few festival-goers knew what they would get from a Shaq set.
In a feature with Vice Sports about the next chapter of his life, O’Neal explained how his TomorrowWorld set came about. Music has always played an important role in the New Jersey native’s upbringing, and he explained that after his very first concert, Public Enemy in San Antonio in 1986, he was enamored with the idea of DJ’ing, so much so that he saved up money to purchase his own set of turntables and a mixer to practice.
Eventually, music and DJ’ing understandably took a backseat to basketball as O’Neal went on to win 4 NBA championships before retiring in 2011. Last year, he attended TomorrowWorld as a fan, and as he was making his way out of the festival with TomorrowWorld’s marketing manager, Joe Silberzweig, O’Neal expressed his interest in playing the festival this year – and the rest is history.
When Shaq took the stage at TomorrowWorld, a buzzed excitement swept through the small, but growing, crowd. He took the decks as the crowds’ chants of “DIESEL” rang throughout the entire festival, and for an hour, O’Neal expertly showed off his hybrid of trap and hip-hop, and dabbling in some of his son’s suggestions – Flosstradamus, Brillz, Slander, and Crizzly. The conclusion of the set brought a wave of social media support, as a number of festival-goers crowned O’Neal with the set of the festival.
You can read the rest of O’Neal’s TomorrowWorld story at VICE Sports here, and check out a recap of his set below.