Over the last couple weeks I have noticed TMZ ambushing hip-hop artists and asking them if they think Damian Lillard AKA Dame D.O.L.L.A. has the rhyme skills to be signed by a major label. My initial reaction was, HELL YES he has the talent to be signed by a major label. His strategy of releasing tracks every few months has shown his dedication to the craft.
So why wouldn’t Dame D.O.L.L.A. put his John Hancock on a contract with a major label? First off, he has repeatedly stated that he is not a rapper, but an All-NBA player who happens to create music. Once you sign that contract you officially become a professional artist. Additionally being an independent artist does not limit how successful you can be in the music world.
I give you Chance the Rapper.
You probably have heard the buzz surrounding Chance’s latest mixtape Coloring Book. It has sent tremors across the music world, the the after shocks will be felt for years to come. Just to give you some perspective on June 4th Coloring Book reached No. 8 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart, despite being a FREE mixtape. Chance’s pedigree of having released two very popular mixtapes, appearing on Saturday Night Live, and being featured on Kanye’s The Life of Pablo surely contributed to the anticipation of his next release. Who is to say that Dame D.O.L.L.A. couldn’t create a similar buzz and enjoy the same type of success.
Earlier this year both were given exclusive opportunities to promote their music during NBA broadcasts. Chance exclusively released Coloring Book on iTunes, and was able to parlay that into a commercial spot during Game 2 of the NBA’s Western Conference Finals. In similar fashion Dame’s “Bigger that Us” debuted on TNT, during the NBA’s recognition of the Martin Luther King holiday.
There are couple other examples of how Dame’s NBA persona could be leveraged into creating anticipation around a mixtape release but I digress.
Keystone to all of this is, what does Dame want out of his music? Does he want to strike while the iron is hot and cash this momentum in now? I tend to think, like his personality, he will prefer to let this fire build and then release it at full strength when he thinks the time is right. Much like this..
I’ll leave you with this, Dame has the ability to create his art the way he wants to right now. How does signing with a major label improve his situation in any way? In my opinion it doesn’t and Chance the Rapper has shown that if done correctly you can get everything you want out of your art.
I be rappin cause I like to do it
But don’t consider me a rapper I just like influence