Damian Lillard has found himself back in the studio this summer, and well he should: the Portland Trail Blazers‘ two-time All-NBA guard has a cavalcade of tracks from the last few years, and most of them have been received pretty well by listeners, myself included.
His “Shook Ones Freestyle” is no different.
The beat is lifted from Mobb Deep‘s “Shook Ones,” and to be fair, theirs is the better version, not just because it came first but because the flow is stronger and more honest.
The first verse in Dame‘s version is delivered by V.I.P. who has worked with Dame a number of times before, including in the track “Talk To Em” that dropped a few weeks ago. V.I.P. is a bit more relaxed here (as is Dame), since the beat is more chill, reminiscent of The Pharcyde or Tribe Called Quest if you’re not familiar with Mobb Deep.
It shines as Dame takes over the second verse.
While it’s not fair to call it a freestyle, he nevertheless brings energy and a solid, smooth delivery. He is not super fast and does not have the best range or enunciation, but Dame gets in the pocket and moves without forcing it, making for easy kick-back-and-chill rap.
As a rule, if you like cool mid-90s rap like Outkast and Pharcyde and Tribe and Camp Lo and who have you, you’ll probably like most of Dame’s stuff, or at least be open to it.
The lyrics (which follow, thanks to David MacKay) first implore action and self-improvement despite institutional disadvantage in V.I.P.’s verse. Dame talks about his upbringing, and how so many folks are working their asses off and don’t ask for handouts, delivering it with punch and honesty. Earnestness isn’t an easy thing to convey, but Dame can and does here for sure.
Dame dropped the track “Isley” last week: chill electronic rap is one way to describe it. Check out Lillard‘s SoundCloud page for more tracks.