The release of any Neil Cicierega track is always a cause for celebration. From “Crocodile Chop” to “Fly Away,” Cicierega has consistently plumbed the depths of the shameful, collective pop past to create gleeful new remixes and mashups that work equally well as parody, deconstruction, and high-end trolling. “That’s How I Beat Shaq,” an exuberant faux-rap ditty from Aaron Carter’s once-loved, now-forgotten 2000 album, Aaron’s Party (Come Get It), is just the kind of exquisitely embarrassing musical detritus that’s perfect for the patented Cicierega treatment. Carter’s original recording, featuring guest vocals from Shaquille O’Neal himself, is a story-song vaguely in the mold of “I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson” and tells the unlikely tale of how the tiny, frail, 13-year-old pop singer somehow dominates the 7’1”, 324-pound Shaq during a game of pickup basketball. (Warning: The song’s ending is a major copout.)
Cicierega’s frantic version, simply titled “Aaron,” dispenses with the narrative altogether in favor of thumping, repetitive, context-free dance-floor madness. “Start the game, the whistle blows!” Carter chirps, over and over again, though the game to which he refers never actually starts. The whiplash-inducing video, meanwhile, gives viewers a glimpse into the private life of Neil Cicierega. Shot largely from Neil’s own hyperactive POV, the clip shows the audio prankster frantically googling Aaron Carter’s name, then surveying the half-scary, half-impressive collection of 1980s and ’90s collectibles in his apartment: a Pee-wee Herman doll, pogs, a VHS-instruction tape with Richard Karn explaining the internet, and a truly horrifying toy modeled after John Goodman as Fred Flintstone. And is that a shrine to Jeff Goldlbum over there?