Damian Lillard is one of the best point guards in the NBA, but he’s also making a name for himself in the music world.
Unlike many other athletes who have dabbled in creating music, Lillard, who goes by the name Dame D.O.L.L.A., is highly respected and has collaborated with some talented hip-hop stars in the process.
One of those was Lil Wayne, who Lillard teamed up with on his newest single called “Run It Up”. He released that single on Friday and his new album “Confirmed” will be released on October 6.
On “Sway in the Morning”, Lillard explained that he wants to be taken seriously in the rap game. "I'm at the point where I'm not just doing music as an athlete, I want to be considered an artist,” he said.
Getting to work with Lil Wayne was an honor for Lillard, who claims it was a defining moment in his music career.
"I kinda felt like I arrived as an artist," he said. "They played the beat and we were both sitting at the back of the room, and he turned his back to the booth and I was looking in and he started saying the hook that he had in his head, like the idea in my ear as the beat was playing. I was like 'Lil Wayne is actually sharing an idea with me right now.' I was moved by that.”
If you’re doubting his skills, check out his freestyle on the show:
If you listened closely, you probably heard Steph Curry’s name. As you could clearly see, the flow and rhythm came to him naturally.
Although he clearly has skills, Lillard has always maintained that he has never adopted and will never adopt a troublesome lifestyle and is therefore different than many others who have made it in the rap industry.
“I think some just try to fit in with being a rapper. Like, completely take on a rapper persona,” he told Slam Magazine last year after his debut album dropped. “For me, I haven’t tried to do that. I know that I was never in the streets, I was never a bad person, I was never any of that. I worked hard, I went to school—I had some scuffles, and I got in some trouble. I just try to share my reality. I don’t try to take on something that’s not who I am, and I think there’s been times where an athlete might—to be respected, they might try to take a different route with their music. That was the one thing I didn’t want to do.”
At that time, he vowed to put out new music every offseason and also revealed that he has lofty goals for himself on the business side of the industry as well.
“I see myself growing more on the business side than anything else,” Dame said. “I’ll always write music, but that might mean, if I like the look of an artist, but maybe his lyrics could be better or something like that, maybe I go after him, because he’s got the right kind of swagger about him and the confidence and all that, but I’m on the business side and maybe I could be writing for him, and lead his career that way. I definitely see myself more growing into that side of it than just trying to be a full-fledged rapper.”
While Lillard the basketball player is a star, it seems as though he might also be considered a star in the hip-hop world soon. Given the number of athletes who have tried and failed miserably, it makes Lillard’s success that much sweeter.