1993 and 1994 were a seminal years for hip hop. ‘93 year saw the release of albums such as Souls Of Mischief's 93 til Infinity, A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders, De La Soul's Buhloone Mindstate, Snoop Doggy Dogg's Doggystyle, an Wu-Tang Clan's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
The following year Nas' Illmatic, Notorious B.I.G's Ready to Die, and OutKast's Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik sent shock waves through rap and changed the game forever. These albums came to define the era. Hip hop was reaching levels of popularity that it had never experienced before and each of these albums has stood the test of time. Today, many refer to this era as the "golden age" of hip hop.
Naturally, the success of rap spawned many who wanted to capitalize on its popularity. This included a bevy of NBA players. Shaquille O'Neal is probably the most recognizable player who made a foray into rap. His first two albums, Shaq Diesel and Shaq Fu: Da Return, released in 1993 and 1994, went Platinum and Gold in the United States, respectively.
One of Shaq's lesser known projects was an album, or what could really be considered a mixtape, called B-Ball's Best Kept Secret that was released in 1994. The album featured NBA players Cedric Ceballos, J.R. Rider, Gary Payton, Brian Shaw, Dennis Scott, Dana Barros, and Jason Kidd among others. They were paired with artists such as Warren G., Grand Puba, and Money-B in what would hopefully be a crossover success.
Kidd, who was drafted second overall by the Dallas Mavericks a few months before the album was released, was paired with Money-B who he knew from growing up in the Bay Area. They collaborated on the track What the Kidd Didd which, according to the New York Times, was entirely ghostwritten by Money-B.
The track turns 20 years old this year and while Kidd's NBA career elicits images of precision passing, his rhymes are anything but precise. His cadence ambles throughout the track with varied inflections. As for subject matter, the track is speckled with pop culture references, allusions to stacks on stacks on stacks, and women. It's standard fare for a rap song but oddly Money-B only wrote in a few basketball references, most notably the line "Steady flossin' with cash earned from hittin' Mashburn."
Kidd and Jamal Mashburn made up two thirds of the Mavericks trio the Three J's in the mid-1990s. The third member was Jim Jackson.
Perhaps, though, the oddest exchange in the song comes when Kidd and Money-B exchange rhymes about how women used to ignore Kidd until he became a star in college. Normally, this shouldn't raise any eyebrows as it is a standard refrain perhaps said best by Mike Jones. However, the narrative quickly changes and we find Kidd, in a deeper voice, saying the line "And try my best to avoid Billie Jean." Apparently, having "more chicks than Kentucky Fried" is a veritable sword of Damocles.
This doesn't seem to deter Kidd, though, as later on he describes hitting "the strip in a drop 500 Benzito/The phat two-seato" looking for, as Money-B describes it, "freaks to lay like a Frito." Anyone familiar with Kidd's career can easily equate this behavior to his fullcourt passes, many of which resulted in a turnover. It's risky behavior, Billie Jean's and turnovers lurk around every corner, but it's a chance he's willing to take.
On the whole, the song is about what you expect from an athlete trying to capitalize on the growth of hip hop. Kidd isn't cut out for the rap game. What saves the track is the rather enjoyable, almost catchy, beat.
Kidd would probably have liked everyone to forget about the track. Many did as the compilation fell into obscurity and Kidd's early, drama-filled, career in Dallas overshadowed anything he did prior. Thanks to the internet, though, we will always know What the Kidd Didd.