In the midst of a playoff run, Portland Trailblazers Small Forward Dorell Wright has his eyes on his second Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy. Wright was drafted in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat directly out of his South Kent Prep high school in Connecticut. He tasted success pretty quickly, winning a championship with the Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal led-Miami Heat in 2006. Now on the Blazers, the nine-year veteran is entrenched in a heated playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs in the semi-finals of the Western Conference. The Blazers are facing a win-or-go-home game 5 match-up tonight in San Antonio.

Wright was born and raised on the West Coast and grew up a huge hip-hop head. He jumped on the phone with XXL to discuss his favorite West Coast album, the artists he listens to now, the Spurs series and what he does when he's not on the hardwood. —Emmanuel C.M.

dorell wright

XXL: What were you listening to growing up?
Dorrell Wright: Me, a lot of Snoop, a lot of Tupac and guys like that. I’m super West Coast with it. I didn’t transfer to East Coast music until I moved out of California and went to prep school on the East Coast. All my classmates and teammates are from Baltimore, New York and places like that. I was introduced to the East Coast hip-hop. I really grew up on West Coast music; I’m still heavy with West Coast music. I listen to everybody now, but I’m still very West Coast all day.

What’s your favorite West Coast album?
Doggystyle, no doubt. Just because that’s my era; it's something I heard all the time. My big cousin who used to babysit me all the time was the biggest Snoop Dogg fan ever. That’s all we really heard was Snoop Dogg and stuff like that. Then when I was younger, I played my music like Kriss Kross as well.

When did you first hear Doggystyle?
I heard it at a young age; I was like 10 or 11. I didn’t really get it and understand it until I was a little bit older. I re-bought the album when I was old enough and I really had the opportunity to listen to it. Just the lyrics; Snoop was one of the best lyrical rappers growing up.

How crazy is that feeling? When you don’t understand music because you’re too young, then when you hear it again you’re amazed at what you’re listening to.
Exactly. [Laughs] I didn’t even know what was going on until I re-listened to it. I hear you Snoop.

Snoop Dogg Tupac Shakur

Have you ever thought about rapping?
No, I’m the worst. I’ll get a ghostwriter. I actually even recorded two songs, a few verses, just messing around the studio with friends. It was written, though, but I still had a fun little time. I’m the worst when it comes to rapping, though. I’ll just be a fan.

Freestyle went wrong?
I’m so terrible at rhyming it's just weak, man. I wish I had a freestyle in me because my teammate Damian Lillard does his thing on Instagram, 4-Bar Fridays. He was like, "I know I’m going to get something from you though." I was like, man, I’m going to have to search for something because I don’t really have no rhymes like that big bruh.

I interviewed Damian before the season about 4-Bar Fridays. When he started it, what were your thoughts?
It was a great creative idea to do something and have an outlet like Instagram to do that. It’s blown up. He did a big event All-Star Weekend. Whenever you have an outlet to do something you love, it's always good to do it. With him doing it, I thought that was brilliant. I’m pretty sure its going to grow just like his brand is going to grow. I’m happy for him, he’s done something that he really loves to do outside of basketball and get it out to the fans and people who like rapping as well.

Who’s your favorite hip-hop artist in the West Coast right now?
Right now, I don’t really have one but I’m going to go with YG, Dom Kennedy and Problem, Nipsey Hu$$le and Kendrick Lamar, for sure.

If you could make an iPod playlist of what you're listening to, what are some of the songs you'd put on there?
That’s tough; something that gets me going. A lot of Drake for sure, Rich Homie Quan, he’s really growing on me. All those guys I named from the West Coast. I like Young Thug a lot. K Camp and of course [Rick] Ross.

What do you listen to before games?
I have two different playlists. I'm really into stuff that’s going to get me hyped and get me into the game. So a lot of West Coast, because we got that party sound that’s going to get me hyped. So like, J 305, who’s signed to OPM Dom Kennedy, a lot of YG, Future for sure, and Problem, because he always got something that gets you going.

You ever think back to a special memory and a song plays with it? Is there something like that for you when you think back to a special basketball memory?
Yeah, no doubt. When we won [the NBA Championship in 2006], a lot of stuff that's out now wasn’t out then, like Drake’s "Trophies." That’s a big song, especially when you win. Coaches like to put mixtapes together with all the highlights and sometimes they ask you what music should we play. "Trophies," Drake’s "Worst Behaviour," especially when we beat Houston; that was a big series for us. And like Drake said in the chorus, "They never loved us." They never gave us the opportunity, and when we won it came to mind.

dom kennedy

How crazy was it for you when Lillard hit that shot? That was one of the best series in the playoffs.
That was awesome. I know a lot of people are pretty mad it didn’t go to 7 [games] but I’m happy it didn’t go to 7. It was a big shot by Dame. The funniest part—everybody noticed me, because when Chandler Parsons made that layup with, like, .9 seconds, it was just like, wow, we just did all that work and this guy just made this shot and it's crazy. When Dame hit the shot I’m just so confused—everybody was running—and I’m just like, wow. He hit his first big real shot in the league and it happened here in Portland. The building felt like it was shaking.

What message does the team put forward when you’re the underdog?
When you’re the underdog, you always want to have that “prove the world wrong” mentality, and playing the Spurs is really somebody you got to really, really respect. You can’t just go out there and get mad. When we played Houston it was easy to get mad because they were talking to the media. The Spurs are a First Class organization; they’re really classy. You've just got find something about them and go out there with that attitude and with that edge like we can beat them even though they are a well-coached team and they execute. So we just got to go out there and play a complete 48-minute game on both ends. That’s the whole mentality; just executing the game plan from A to Z.

What’s the difference between the regular season and the playoffs?
The beginning of the season, the number one goal is to get a trophy. You do all your maintenance work and you learn your teammates and different plays and what’s good for you. Then you finally get to the playoffs and the intensity, everything just turns up another notch. Every minute, every second counts. Guys play as hard as they can, giving up their bodies and sacrificing everything to get that trophy.

damian lillard

Outside of the NBA, what else do you do?
I’ve been working on being a DJ for the last few years. I really haven’t had the opportunity to sit down and just learn it. I’ve just been here and there [and] I’ve been learning. I would love to be, like, a celebrity DJ in Vegas or somewhere where it gets the party going.

You have a clothing line, right?
Yeah, I have a clothing line called Scrapes & Gravel with my fiancée and a friend I grew up with. It's pretty sweet to see your dreams come true as far as making a clothing line and it [be]coming a reality. We had a launch party and we're selling a few things. It was like all this hard work and the vision we had, finally coming around.

Tell me about The D Wright Way Foundation.
It’s in its 4th year. It’s been a blessing; it's touched so many families, different kids, and to just see those smiles on their faces, it’s overwhelming and very humbling. It supports the single mother home, city kids and the less fortunate. Me being an inner-city kid and growing up with kids that only had a mom at home, I was just blessed and fortunate to have my mom and dad at home. But the struggle they had to go through on a day-to-day basis that I saw, those are the people I want to help. So it’s very humbling and overwhelming. We haven’t done anything humongous but the things we have done are big time.

dorell wright