All Eyes On You
NBA star Damian Lillard isn’t just a hip-hop fan, he’s also an MC.
Words Emmanuel Maduakolam
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is one of the bright young faces in the NBA. Since entering the league in 2012 as the No. 6 overall pick in the draft, the 25-year-old product of Oakland made back-to-back NBA All Star appearances (2014 – 2015) and in 2015 led the Blazers to their first Northwest Division title in 16 years.

As amazing as Lillard is on the hardwood, he’s also pretty talented when he picks up a mic. The 2013 NBA Rookie of the Year is gearing up for the release of his as-yet-titled debut album, where he spits under the name Dame Dolla. XXL recently caught up with Lillard to talk about recent hip-hop events and recording his own album.

XXL: What'd you think of the recent Drake-Meek Mill beef?
Damian Lillard: I was kind of lost with the whole thing ’cause I didn’t know what the beef was about or where it came from. I started looking at the tweets from Meek. What he was saying, it just sounded real believable. So I was like, “Man, maybe he right.” But then also, just being a fan of music, I realize that a lot of the best songs in the industry are co-written, you know? Other people wrote them and I realize it’s possible but Drake seems clever enough to come up with what he comes up with. So, I mean, I thought it was interesting. When Meek put his track out, it was all right, but it wasn’t as strong as the two Drake songs.

Did you see Straight Outta Compton?
I thought it was a great movie. Obviously [with] any type of biography like that, you might have some people that might not be happy with the way that they were portrayed or things like that. But I think the acting was great. I think the guys did a great job of playing their characters. And it was great for people who might be fans of Ice Cube and didn’t know his history with rap. People who weren’t really familiar with Eazy E, didn’t know the start that Dr. Dre had. I think MC Ren was a little bit more than what they showed in the movie, but overall I think it told a great story.

You're recording your own rap album now. When does it come out?
I wanted to put it out now because it’s stuff that I’ve already recorded so it’s stuff that I’m happy with. [It’s about] what I’ve experienced from my childhood ’til now so I think there’s a lot that’s worth sharing. I feel like my story, kind of my bottom to where I am now story is what I want to share, so that’s why I want to get it out there before the season.

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