clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Don't let the NBA rapper stereotype fool you, Damian Lillard's album is very good

Trust me on this one.

If you’ve never heard Damian Lillard rap before because you've been skeptical of NBA players in the booth, then you’ve been missing out. Lillard, who goes by Dame D.O.L.L.A. on tracks, is good. Not just good for a basketball player, but just good in general.

The Trail Blazers point guard has had success with the songs too. He dropped the “Bigger than us” music video in 2016 and even has some songs featured on the NBA 2k18 soundtrack .

On top of that, Dame D.O.L.L.A just dropped his new project CONFIRMED. I decided to take a listen and break it down track by track.

HERE WE GO:

*Looks at tracklist*

There is a 2 Chainz feature. It’s lit.

Track 1: "NO PUNCHES"

Beat:

Favorite line: “So many teachers on my journey feel this was my calling. To be examples for present stars and children following. Keep it low, the world ain't gotta know you really balling.”

The intro to an album sets the tone of the whole project, which is a pretty important aspect... just ask Meek Mill.

This is a really good intro song. D.O.L.L.A’s flow is impressive and syncs with this beat really well. You find yourself bopping along to the melody and words instantly. From this intro, you know that D.O.L.L.A is going to give you a lot of lyrical substance and tell you some meaningful things about his life on this album. It reminds me of Lecrae — D.O.L.L.A’s flow lets you know that he will be giving you a message.

Track 2: "BOSS LIFE"

Beat:

Favorite line: “The value of a dollar quickly change. Still don't do the strip club, but love the finer things. Even when I cop myself a flooded diamond chain. I hate to say I'm different, bruh, but I ain't the same.”

Lillard seems like a pretty humble NBA player, he doesn’t flex for attention, but that doesn’t mean that he has to act like he doesn’t have money now. On this track, he’s talking about all the newfound things that have come into his life because of his wealth, but he’s not being braggadocious or in your face about it. He’s just telling it how it is.

Nothing in this song sounds like an exaggeration or made up... and that’s incredible.

Track 3: "SWITCH SIDES" feat. Verse Simmonds, Brookfield Deuce.

Beat:

Favorite line: “Y'all loud mouths move in silence. Fake tough, ain't new to violence. East Oakland, immune to sirens. Jet talk, we do it private."

This is the first song on the album that contains features. The hook is pretty catchy and this song has mad potential to be the new NBA offseason anthem. Will it be the go-to subtweet song lyrics when a free agent signs with another team? Because that’s all I think about when I listen to this song.

Track 4: "Run it up" feat. Lil Wayne

Beat:

Favorite line: “I'm from where Golden State at but Portland where I lay at I'm the Daddy Mac, Mac Daddy with hoop and rappin' Y'all be on your Kris Kross, uh, hustlin' backwards All this game I'm givin' is prolly gon' be a caption.”

The beat screams banger, but the lyrics aren’t about the standard club shit... well Wayne’s lyrics are.

D.O.L.L.A's lyrics, on the other hand, reminds us that he could stunt on all of us is he really wanted to.

I’d play it in the whip, not gonna lie.

Track 5: "SHOOTA" feat. Expensive Melodies

Beat:

Favorite line: Can you pretty please tell me that fragrance? Never name drop, but, baby, I'm famous You hotter than a sauna, girl let my mama, meet your mama, girl

This is the new shoot your shot anthem. It feels like when Meek Mill has that ballad style song in the middle of his usual style.

It’s an interesting move to get someone else to sing the hook even though the hook says “I’m Dame no Dash." It’s a fire hook don’t get me wrong, it just caught me off-guard to hear someone sing, “I’m Dame no Dash," and the person singing it isn’t Dame.

At first, I was like, “Yo, Lillard can sing like this?!” and then you do a double take at the tracklist.

Track 6: "ANOMALY" feat. 2 Chainz

Beat: TRUUUUUUU

Favorite line: Reporting live from the blacktop. I've been hustling since Will Smith had a flattop - 2 Chainz

Dame D.O.L.L.A’s ear for beats is pretty damn good. His flow and voice are also pretty versatile and it shows on this beat. It’s rare for someone to have a song with 2 Chainz and not have the show stolen from them. That’s major props to D.O.L.L.A.

This is the perfect beat for a collaboration with 2 Chainz. His flow is so smooth that he just rode the beat and spit that heat.

Now we just need to see Lillard vs 2 Chainz on the court.

Track 7: "MARSHAWN LYNCH"

Beat: You know why I’m here.

Favorite line: What I'm here for Looking in your cabinet for that Hypno Trying to get it popping like some Crisco Speeding cross that bridge off to Frisco It's official

This might be my favorite beat and hook on the anthem. I was looking for a surprise Marshawn cameo but it is what it is. Can there be a remix? Please?

Track 8: "TRAP PARTY (FUNERAL)"

Beat: Eerie

Favorite line: I stopped by the crib, condolences and my feelings hurt, My partner really ain't coming back, I just buried him in six feet of dirt, And ready to deal with that pain though.

This might be my favorite overall song on the album. The hook, the vibe, and the lyrics all come together perfectly and lyrics are heavy. When you lose a friend or a loved one, you reminisce on the good and funny memories with your Day 1 friends while still trying to react and cope with the hurt. This is just one of the many points on the album when D.O.L.L.A is saying that real shit. Those lyrics that stick and resonate with those that have gone through the same thing.

Track 9: "5TH of HENN"

Beat:

Favorite line: The girl in the passenger seat, I'm taking her on a safari, I charter the plane on vacation, I lead to a standing ovation, That Henny in rotation

On this song, for some reason, D.O.L.L.A seems more comfortable with switching up the flows. He’s a pretty composed person and you can feel it throughout this album, but this song seems to contain an extra burst of energy. Especially right out of the gates with the first verse. This song isn’t introspective, but rather a fun song to two-step to after some shots. Something to pregame to before hitting the club, you know?

Track 10: "ONE & ONLY"

Beat: ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️

Favorite line:

Put your feet on my lap and let me massage that

Girl, I bring you everywhere the squad at (the squad)

It's magic everywhere we makin' contact

Let's focus on us and never get sidetracked

It’s an interesting transition from "5TH of HENN", but it’s not that type of album so it doesn’t matter that much. This song is telling me that Damian Lillard is working on becoming more versatile as a musician. He takes a stab at singing the hook and I had to again do a double-take at the tracklist to make sure it wasn’t someone else.

I wasn’t expecting him to sing the hook okay?! With that being said... it’s not bad. I respect the attempt and him expanding his horizons.

Track 11: "THE LET DOWN" feat. Nick Grant & BJ The Chicago Kid

Beat:

Favorite line: Will they love me when I'm slowin' down and missin' game winners?

No longer buyin' flights and all them free steak dinners. Wish me happy birthday if it's over 'cause I'm injured. Is the luxury the only thing I gave 'em to remember?

Throughout this song, D.O.L.L.A is contemplating how his life will look after he’s done playing basketball.

What Lillard is asking us fans is when it’s all said and done, who is going to give a shit? Fame isn’t easy, and going from being in the spotlight to fading away from it is an intense transition that isn’t the same for everyone. You really feel for D.O.L.L.A in the fact that he’s reaching to us as Dame D.O.L.L.A the person and not just a basketball player who entertains the masses like some people sadly only see him as.

I ain’t famous or rich, but I still felt this.

It’s like NAV said. “They gon' leave you when you down, not when you up."

Nick Grant and BJ the Chicago Kid have excellent features on top of a beat that reminds you of your kickball stats on the playground when you were a kid.

Just me? Alrighty then.

Track 12: "MEMBERS ONLY"

Beat:

Favorite line:

I keep a small circle (I do), family, couple homies

Know these suckers hating so I'm never by my lonely

You know how we rocking, this a testimony

Can never crack the code, better know it's members only

For someone who spends as much time in the spotlight as Lillard does, he stresses the importance of having a few good friends in life. It’s like the anti-Jay Gatsby way, which is a very good thing.

Lillard is very wise, and while he’s telling us about his life, he’s dropping some pretty valuable advice. He’s aware of the toils of fame, and he’s not going to let the side effects of popularity consume and corrupt him.

Track 13: "WONDERLAND"

Beat:

Favorite line: Cause they jealous bout where they at and what you was blessed with, And the problems steady stacking, life's a game of Tetris So many friends come and go but real ones gon' remain, Cause the kind of love you need only real ones can sustain.

Lyrically this song sounds like a sequel to THE LET DOWN. D.O.L.L.A is questioning who is really here for more than Dame the rich and successful. It’s also a good outro and a good point to end the album on. A good end to a very solid project.

IN CONCLUSION:

Damian Lillard is a part-time rapper. He tours the country as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers. Maybe one day he’ll headline a concert tour in the offseason. I’d cop a ticket.

Yes. He’s that good.

WIth this album, Lillard has evolved from a basketball player that raps to being someone that’s good enough to have a standalone career as a rapper.

After hearing this album you can hear how much he’s evolved since the 2015 video at the beginning of this article.

Yes, there are points where he’s trying out different flows and styles like in "ONE & ONLY" and "Run It Up." You can tell which styles he’s comfortable with and which ones he sounds less comfortable with at the moment. These are nitpicky things because I was asked to think of criticisms for this album and I don’t have any major criticisms.

I look forward to seeing where he goes from here. His music potential is pretty damn high and you have to figure out your strengths and weaknesses through trial and error like most rappers do before they get super big in the industry.

Damian Lillard is evolving his style and improving his craft. Overall, the jump that D.O.L.L.A has made from The Letter O is enough to convince you that the sky is the limit for how good D.O.L.L.A can get.

For a lot of athletes that dabble in music, it’s just a hobby for them. For Lillard, it could be another career.

He’s that good.