Photo: Kevork Djansezian (Getty Images)
Damian Lillard has been proving skeptics wrong his whole life. Now, the NBA star is ready to make the doubters swallow their haterade once again by releasing his debut album, The Letter O, under his rap name Dame D.O.L.L.A.
We know what you’re thinking. NBA players dropping hip hop albums are the equivalent of an “audio airball,” as everyone from Kobe Bryant to Chris Webber have stepped off the hardwood court and into the recording booth to D-League status.
Even the most successful, Shaquille O’Neal, who went platinum with his 1994 Shaq Diesel LP, were considered novelty acts, whose attempts at rap fame would haunt them years later on shows like Inside The NBA on TNT.
Judging from a few listens to The Letter O, the Portland Trailblazer point guard is an anomaly whose hip hop game parallels his NBA career. Lillard was relatively unknown by NBA fans after being drafted by the Trailblazers out of tiny Weber State University in 2012.
Now, coming into 2016-2017 season, Lillard is a certified star and TV commercial pitchman for State Farm and Adidas. It’s not hard to envisioning Dame D.O.L.L.A. achieving the same level of success as The Letter O showcases his smooth flow, jam-packed with left-handed similes, crossover metaphors and explosive rhymes that talk about growing up in Oakland and grinding to get where he is in “the league.”
Oakland, Ogden, Oregon. My debut album #TheLetterO drops tonight at midnight eastern/9 west coast time on @itunes, @applemusic and @spotify. #TheLetterO features Lil Wayne, @iamjamiefoxx, @marshaambrosius, @adrianmarcel, @juviethegreat, @raphael_saadiq, @brookfieldduece, @mannylotusx, @dannyfromsobrante and @drakegreen_ (aka Dupre). This thing slaps! Can’t wait for y’all to hear it! #DameDOLLA
Lillard has largely gone under the radar with the project which he announced on his Instagram despite it featuring appearances from big names like Lil Wayne, Raphael Saadiq, Jamie Foxx, Juvenile, and more. His NBA peers seem to like what they hear as Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Ricky Rubio have given him an assist on social media.