When he isn't busy hitting bigtime buzzer beaters over Paul George, or being a father, you can probably find Damian Lillard in the studio rapping his a** off. The Portland Trail Blazers' starting point guard now officially has three albums under his belt with the release of his latest effort, "Big D.O.L.L.A."
While you've probably heard the jokes about athletes trying to rap in the past, Lillard is one of the few who are actually good at the trade and have made a stable foundation in the industry. For someone who spends most of the year traveling and pushing his body to the limits, the time he does have to use as a hip-hop artist clearly isn't wasted.
"Big D.O.L.L.A." is Lillard's best work to date by far. It seems fitting, as it comes following his most prolific and successful NBA season as both a player and team. After sitting with the album for a little while, here are my four favorites from the project, and what makes them each stand out.
"Money Ball" feat. Jeremih, Danny from Sobrante & Derrick Milano
Firstly, if you throw a Jeremih feature on a track I'm probably going to like it. But more than that, this might be the song with the most radio success potential from Lillard. It's smooth and a total flex: "Getting' money ain't new to me," sings Jeremih on the hook. The song is a total group effort, which may be what makes it so fun in the first place.
This track makes the list because it's great to hear Lillard flowing solo and be this captivating. He has this laidback style to his tone that's inviting and easy to listen to. This is the track for people who don't want any extra frills or additives; "Cupid" is just Lillard rapping over a classic West Coast beat, being himself.
"Beach" feat. Derrick Milano
This might be my #1 on the album... Lillard sounds poetic praising his girl here, preaching to do anything for her—even "bringing sand to the beach." In the heat of summer, this is the type of jam you need to have in rotation. "I been shootin' for a minute this a kill shot," raps Lillard as he not only references his knack for the longball, but his pursuit at this chance of love.
"All about the check / No Nike," says Lillard as he professes his knack for securing a bag and proclaims his loyalty to Adidas. While soft-spoken for most of the time and letting his game do the talking on the court, it's great to hear Lillard let his mouth run a little here. Always the underdog, "Check" celebrates Lillard's talents and grind to get to where he's at today: Nothing given, everything earned.
Overall, "Big D.O.L.L.A." is a solid album. It's clear Lillard has thrown a little extra finesse into this one, leaning more on that summer time R&B vibe, which ultimately works out in his favor. You can listen to "Big D.O.L.L.A" on all streaming platforms.