Why Damian Lillard's rap career should be taken seriously

NBA's Damian Lillard drops a full-length rap album.
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Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard a.k.a Dame D.O.L.L.A. released his album The Letter 'O' last week.

The album follows Lillard through his life story, struggles, and successes. Just like his decision on the number zero for his jersey, the "O" here represents his hometown of Oakland, his college town Ogden, and where he resides now in Oregon.

Early respect

Lillard first dipped into the rap game last year when he participated in an impressive freestyle on Sway in the Morning. Sway told Lillard, "You're spitting better than these rappers, man." He added, "He's doing it as a pastime, get your game up!"

Months later Lillard dopped his first song, "Soldier in the Game" on Soundcloud. Where he packs in three minutes of rhymes on mental struggles, keeping real ones close and accepting the good and bad in life all over the beat of Future's "F*ck Up Some Commas."

Since then, his first song has received 1.45 million plays and he has accumulated over 53,000 followers.

The right words

On The Letter 'O' Lillard recounts his life up to the point where he is at right now.

In "Thank You" he thanks his grandma for her positive influence in his life, while on the Dupre-assisted track "Growth Spurt" he talks about going from a playful kid to achieving his dreams.

Rap MVP Lil Wayne supports another notable track "Loyal to the Soil." In this one, Lillard boasts of developing a good work ethic despite growing up poor. The whole theme of the album really comes to light in the hook as he raps, "I won't let that money define me / I let my struggles refine me / I know my angels behind me."

Other big-name guests on the album include Marsha Ambrosius, Jamie Foxx, Juvenile, and a bonus track featuring Raphael Saadiq.

Better than the rest?

Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson, and Tony Parker have all given rap a go, but didn't have the strength of social media to help spread their heat as easily. Nor did they have social media for fans or colleagues in both fields to display instant gratification.

Dame D.O.L.L.A. has been receiving positive feedback from both NBA friends and fellow rappers.

From the basketball side:

And even some Minnesota love:

On the rapper end:

Lillard also used Twitter to share how his album quickly creeped to the number two spot on the hip-hop iTunes chart.

The easy-listening, 12-track album is currently available on iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify.

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