Damian Lillard is starting the NBA season fresh off of a feature in Rolling Stone magazine about balancing his rap career with his basketball stardom. Writer Daniel Kreps dives into how Lillard manages to create success in both the recording studio and on the basketball court, outlining Lillard’s interest in maintaining both of his dreams at the highest levels.
This balancing act is the new normal for the All-NBA athlete hoping to conquer the Bo Jackson-esque task of ascending to the zenith of two viciously competitive arenas. “It’s been a really good stretch for me as far as basketball and my music. I think this is just the beginning,” Lillard tells Rolling Stone. “Anytime you’re doing something like this, when you have two occupations, planning is important. Everything is coming together nicely because of our plan.”
While Lillard often gets pushback from fans because of his off-the-court rap career, it is clear from his interview with Kreps that Lillard has a different blueprint in mind for how his rap game will grow alongside his basketball game, especially in this upcoming season.
While no one doubts Lillard’s ability to drain 3-point shots from astonishing distances, Dame D.O.L.L.A. found himself having to reassert his talents every offseason. “In the past, I would do my albums and all my music in the summer, and when the season started, it would completely go away,” he says. “So it was hard to keep the audience and keep people’s attention and keep it fresh in their minds, where they’re treating me like an artist.”
“This summer, we recorded enough music where I could be rolling it during the season. For example, if it’s a big game, I have music ready to go,” Lillard said, teasing NBA holidays like All-Star Weekend, the Christmas slate, or just a Dame Time-dominated game as a potential landing spot for new music.
Of course, Lillard’s recent rap beef with Shaq has done a lot to draw attention to Lillard’s rhymes. According to Kreps, Lillard wrote both in record time.
Part of what made Lillard’s lyrical evisceration of Shaq so devastating was the immediacy and fastidiousness in which he savagely countered O’Neal’s jabs; Lillard reveals he penned “Reign Reign Go Away” in 45 minutes and “I Rest My Case” in 20.
You can read the rest of Kreps’ piece here.