For anyone unfamiliar with Dame D.O.L.L.A, he is an up and coming rapper with deep roots in the game—basketball that is. Dame D.O.L.L.A AKA, Damian Lillard has accomplished what so many other NBA stars have attempted over the years. He has established himself as the best baller to ever rap and those are words straight from his mouth. Since Lillard was drafted in the NBA he has always been open about his love for music, rapping, and taking it on as a legitimate career. Now obviously as one of the premier players in the NBA, Dame has a successful basketball career to focus on. But over the years that hasn’t stopped D.O.L.L.A from dropping singles or showing off his flow via social media. Hear him at the 2:35 mark:
Although it’s clear Dame D.O.L.L.A takes his music career seriously, not until last week has he been able to bless us with a full studio album. The Letter ‘O’, Dame’s debut project delivers as a coming of age story that takes us through the highs and lows of growing up in the streets of east Oakland to the heights of success as an NBA all-star, despite the snubs. And speaking of snubs, Dame doesn’t shy away from talking about his lack of All-Star nods in the easy listening opening track Bill Walton, which gives us this notable line, “I should’a had three by my name”.
But don’t think that The Letter ‘O’ is just a list of Dame’s grievances as an overlooked NBA star, it is an honest depiction of life as a young, Black male in the inner city and the struggles of being from the streets. However, unlike most popular rap, D.O.L.L.A’s fight is a different one. There were drugs around, but he didn’t do drugs and violence around him that he didn’t participate in. Instead, Dame paints a picture of a kid trying to navigate his way around such circumstances, leaning on the guidance of his parents who made sure his focus was on school and basketball. In Thank You, a track dedicated to his grandmother, Dame also shows appreciation for her love and support especially after his parents separated.
Although Dame is showing us a different side of life in the ghetto having had a different struggle, a struggle to elevate oneself beyond the parameters of the inner city, in no way should The Letter ‘O’ be considered soft or conscious rap. D.O.L.L.A’s flow is all his own but his content, sound, language, and wordplay is consistent with the rap music that dominates the airwaves today. If I had to describe Dame’s debut album in one word it’d be, relatable. Everyone can relate to struggles of growing up and the challenges that come with moving out on your own for the first time whether you are from an inner city or a suburb. People can relate to the desire to work your way into a better situation for yourself and your family. And many of us can relate to being overlooked and underappreciated in our professions.
On top putting together a project that hits home on so many levels, he doesn’t forget to show off some bravado and boast about being a millionaire basketball player. So for all those who love materialism and flashy things, D.O.L.L.A also drops some bars that all the ballers out there can show off and vibe to.
Damian Lillard the ball player may not be receiving all the credit he deserves on the court but no one can dispute that Dame D.O.L.L.A is the game’s best rapper alive, and ever.
Notable features on the album include Lil’ Wayne, Juvenile, Raphael Saadiq, Marsha Ambrosius, and Jamie Foxx even lends his voice to a track called Plans dedicated to the ladies. The Letter ‘O’ is available now on iTunes and Apple Music.
- Bill Walton (T1)
- Wasatch Front (T2)
- Misguided (T4)
- Thank You (T5)
- Plans- Ft Jamie Fox (T6)
- Legacy- Ft Juvenile (T7)
- Loyal to the Soil- Ft Weezy (T8)