Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of interviewing Damian Lillard about hoops and mainly his music. We talked about his favorite 4 Bars (by T.I.), his first concert (Cash Money with Lil Wayne), deciphered lyrics off his favorite album (400 Degreez by Juvenile) and if he considers Tupac an Oakland rapper (yes). I gave him a cassette mixtape with all of his songs, along with a copy of Iverson’s unreleased CD and tried to convince the 4-Bar Friday king to release a remix of 40 Bars with him and his one of his idols exchanging verses. I also bugged him about his constantly delayed album.
On Thursday, out of nowhere, Damian Lillard aka Dame D.O.L.L.A. (Different On Levels the Lord Allowed) announced his much delayed and anticipated debut album, #TheLetterO, would be dropping later that night. Night came, the album dropped and I have to say I was impressed from the beginning (my personal favorite track called “Bill Walton”) to the end, which is the previously released “Hero” collaboration with music legend and fellow Oakland native Raphael Saadiq.
Although the album is full of guests — including his childhood favs Lil Wayne and Juvenile, a very smooth sounding Jamie Foxx and the always great sounding Marsha Ambrosius — the star of this album is Dame and his quotable lyrics.
All-stars, I should have 3 by the name,
They say I cried about not making it, It’s free to complain,
It’s deeper than fame, It’s principle,
My feelings hurt? Minimal!
Those are a couple lines from the opening track, Bill Walton, which features, like many of the tracks, some smooth production old school hip-hop fans (that hate 99% of rap played on radio stations nowadays), like me, can appreciate. I don’t know who produced which songs on the album but here’s a list of the producers deserving some praise for their assist to Dame.
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) October 21, 2016
As much as I would like to give a review of the album with a rating, I’m not, because I always felt you needed to give an album at least a couple of days and listens before you can fairly judge the work. I can tell you that overall the album sounds great on an initial listen and I enjoyed the majority of the tracks, but I’m not going to say this album is better than this one or ranks X on my top X albums of the year or “best” anything…yet.