They used to say ball players want to be rappers and vice versa.
That was until Damian Lillard showed us you can have the best of both worlds.
More than just a Master P training camp contract. Uhh!
Now we have the likes of one of today’s greatest in the game in J. Cole playing in the Basketball Africa League (BAL).
But the real “legend in two games like Pee Wee Kirkland” as Clipse once rapped is Dame.
Where else are you going to find a rap album that references Bimbo Coles?
Even New York MC Fabolous’ throwback closet doesn’t go back that deep.
Oakland’s own Dame Lillard is best known for keeping Portland blazing in the playoffs. But what of his trail from the court to the booth? The gym to the studio.
We all know about his mic drop moments on the floor. Like the time he looked at the camera after knocking Paul George and the OKC Thunder out with another one of his signature shots from way downtown. Now how about when logo Lillard actually spits bars into a microphone?
Then it’s truly over.
Dame Time becomes Dame D.O.L.L.A. and then nobody can stop him. Not even granny from ‘Space Jam’.
A basketball baller. A rapper. Starring in blockbuster movies with King James and providing songs for the soundtrack. Is there anything this man can’t do in the big-three tiers of entertainment?
Hollywood, hip-hop and hoops. Numero zero gives 100 percent to everything he does. All to be the one. He’s just different and his new album ‘Different On Levels The Lord Allowed’ shows that. Leveling up as God is our witness.
Allow yourself time to take your time with this set. A dozen tracks over a half hour that goes hard like this player driving to the paint.
The follow-up to 2019’s ‘Big D.O.L.L.A’ is the big ticket like Kevin Garnett. His fourth album after that, ‘Confirmed’ and the mighty debut, ‘The Letter O’. That many albums for the man that dominates over four quarters just shows us he belongs in this game. As he does in the upper echelons of the one that serves as his day job.
Guest features from legends like Lil’ Wayne, Q-Tip, Snoop Dogg and neo soul icon Raphael Saadiq proves he deserves to be on the roster of today’s rap greats too. No development league.
Saadiq an Oak town friend of hoopers who wrote the foreword to retired big-man Brian Grant’s new autobiography gives a classic chorus to ‘GOAT Spirit’. A track that proves Dame wants to be the best in both arenas. Rocking sports and concert stadiums.
Zoning out to ‘Meditate’ with A Tribe Called Quest’s Tip, Lillard’s lyrics tell us, “I often reminisce on all the life lessons/snake eyes on me, my dice seven.” Holding his own next to a genre forefather and an infectious hook.
This whole album is fire like the amazing artwork. Key tracks like ‘The Juice’, ‘Home Team’ featuring Dreebo and the creatively named ‘Him Duncan’ spurs this album on. One which Dame calls his, “best project to date.”
And just like pulling up from half-court, he’s not wrong.
The Mamba mentality of this man really shines through on an inspired interlude and a song dedicated to ‘Kobe’, featuring Snoop Dogg and Derrick Milano. One that is even better than Tha Carter, Lil’ Wayne’s (who appears here on ‘Right One’) ‘Kobe Bryant’ track.
There is no one better than Lakers superfan Snoop to assist Lillard too as Dame raps, “Who you know that shoot the freebie right after they tear achilles? (Killer)/Number 8 was crazy (Crazy)/But 24 was scary (Ooh)/Respect his name or else he might show up as Bloody Mary (Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe)/Won’t forget the things he mentioned, how to get a Larry (The chip)/Whatever necessary, he tried to help prepare me.”
Now look what he created. A lion with his face stenciled in the clouds like the classic cover. A ‘Young Simba’ who can’t wait to be the King.
And maybe even beat his royal highness now he hasn’t joined him this offseason.
Now can we get a platinum plaque next to that Olympic Gold he just got from Tokyo?
For D.O.L.L.A. this would all make perfect sense.