As a premier guard in the NBA, Damian Lillard leaves it all on the court. As his rapping alter ego, Dame D.O.L.L.A., he does the same on the microphone. In both realms, the talented Oakland native makes it abundantly clear; he’s as real as they come regardless of his stature.
Many NBA players have tried their hands at the rap game before, but the association has usually distanced themselves from such player endeavours. With Lillard however, they’ve taken a different stance and he believes it’s a step in the right direction.
“The league is growing, the game is growing and I think it’s great and much appreciated that they want to be involved in that,” said Lillard.
Appearing on Sway’s Universe just over a month ago to promote his debut album (entitled The Letter O), the star of the Portland Trailblazers revealed his legitimacy could be why the NBA has supported him.
“I think for one they [the NBA] recognize that it’s genuine; what I’m saying, I’m not talking out of turn on something that I didn’t experience,” said the former NBA All-Star. “I’m not talking about things in a negative way and bringing a bad light on the NBA.”
One of the reasons for Lillard’s realness could be his humble beginnings instilling honest principles within him. Being a rising star in the world of entertainment and sports, he’s currently exposed to many different characters and sees the blurred line between fiction and real life.
“I know the reality of certain stuff,” said Dame. “So when people do music and I hear what they saying – now I’m a professional athlete myself so I’m in the same room as a lot of people and I see how stuff actually happens and how fabricated some stuff is – so when I hear it…you know I done seen both sides.”
Using clubbing as an example, the fifth year NBA guard suggests a lot of high society individuals go out of their way to ensure they’re in the public eye, but he takes it in stride since that lifestyle isn’t appealing to him.
“You know when I maybe go to a club and people buy they bottles or whatever and when they come out with them lights, they make sure they standing right there and everybody can see em, and you know they want they friends to be right there,” he said.
“It’s like ‘look at me I want to be popular, I want people to know who I am’ and when I see that I know, I don’t want nobody to know my whereabouts. If I go out, don’t have no lights around me, none of that; let me chill and it ain’t nobody else business what I’m doing or where I’m at.”
One half of the NBA’s best back courts goes on to mention that the current culture amongst young celebrities/athletes could be part of the blame for the ongoing facades they carry out, with the older heads being bad examples themselves for the younger generation.
“When you talk about following and doing what everybody else is doing it’s almost like you get to a certain level and there’s so many examples in front of you of people bringing you along and saying ‘this is the way to do this, you supposed to go out and do this or you supposed to have this or you supposed to get a Rolex and you supposed to have two chains;’ you know what I mean,” said Lillard.
“When you have that kind of example that becomes the culture and then you got 19 year old, 18 year old rappers and you got 19 year old draft picks and they following the person in front of them because they think that’s what’s cool…it just turns into a cycle.”
After initially facing scrutiny for his foray into the hip-hop world from fans and ‘analysts,’ the cool demeanour he often displays on the hardwood carries over to the booth and he knows basketball is where his attention is most required.
“It’s always first thing’s first, I know my priorities are always in order,” said Dame D.O.L.L.A. “I know that I’ll be able to come out and perform.”
The full interview can be viewed below and throughout it he discusses how beats dictate his songs’ concepts, breaks down lyrics to some of his tracks, reveals he’s started his own label called Front Page Music Inc. and along with his labelmates (Danny from Sabrante and Brookfield Deuce) kicks a freestyle among other things.