Stream Damian Lillard aka Dame D.O.L.L.A.'s "Different On Levels The Lord Allowed" Album
At this point, it's fair to say that Damian Lillard is not a basketball player who tries to rap on the side. The NBA All-Star released his fourth studio album on Friday. The title is based on his rap moniker, Dame D.O.L.L.A., which, even though he is one of the highest-paid athletes in the league, actually stands for "Different On Levels The Lord Allowed."
“I did the whole process like any other artist did while having my basketball career,” Lillard said of building his rap career in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “So I think with a lot of athletes, sometimes it’s just like they jump in as ‘I’m so and so, listen to my music,’ instead of like taking the time to build they career up as an artist. And that way everybody else will respect it because you did it how everybody else would have to do it.”
As he's done since his debut album, 2016's "The Letter O," the gold medalist continues to show off his lyrical prowess. Throughout the 12 tracks of "Different On Levels The Lord Allowed," Lillard explores paranoia, faith and success. On "IYKYK," he mourns the death of his cousin, Chef B and "For Me" is a bouncy tribute to his fiancee, Kay’la Hanson, who is the mother of his three children.
He name drops fellow ballers DeMar DeRozan and James Harden and there's a two-track tribute to Kobe Bryant. An interlude features Lillard reflecting on watching the Black Mamba while growing up hooping in Oakland before the previously released single "Kobe" with Snoop Dogg and Derrick Milano pounds the pavement.
As usual, D.O.L.L.A. got an all-star list of features. Besides the Doggfather, he enlists Q-Tip, Raphael Saadiq, West Coast star Blxst and fellow Bay Area vet Mozzy. Lil Wayne has graced Lillard with a verse on all four of his albums. Here, he appears on the snappy "Right One."
Lillard also puts on for his hometown and newcomers as Oakland's own Jane Handcock is featured on two tracks and Tree Thomas appears on "We the Ones." Los Angeles rapper/singer Dreebo provides the crooning hook for "Home Team." Dreebo is building his platform by releasing a song every day this year. He got on the project through Lillard's cousin, Brookfield Deuce, who A&R'd the album. The two used to work together and have appeared on each other's projects.
"He hit me and was basically saying Dame was looking for somebody on this record and he had sent him my music and he was fuckin with it," Dreebo said in an interview with PayDay LA. "So they sent over the record and the rest was history. It manifested itself. It was one of those who-you-know-type things and then just being ready for the opportunity."
The ethereal cover art for "Different On Levels The Lord Allowed" is done by Oakland-based collective Grand Nationxl. The project was released through Lillard's Front Page Music label.