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Damian Lillard releases rap song about racial justice in honor of MLK Day

Like many NBA players before him, Damian Lillard makes rap songs on the side. Unlike most NBA players before him, Damian Lillard is really good at rapping.

The Trailblazers point guard released a song called “Bigger Than Us” in honor of Martin Luther King Day condemning racism and police brutality and demanding change while also praising the work of previous civil rights leaders like MLK and Malcolm X.

The song is well produced, the chorus is catchy, Lillard’s flow is good, and the lyrics are pretty powerful.

While much of the song is about general improvement as a country (We need change, better attitudes/to open up lanes, better avenues),  Lillard specifically addresses policy misconduct in the second verse:

Sad to see the reality of our aggression/Cops killing, drugs selling in the state of a depression
When I get pulled over should I be afraid?/Because lately the badge gets in the way
If my attitude bad because of the day/would it threaten them enough I could maybe catch a stray?
But it’s a two-way street you probably hate to hear/It seems like they striking because it be out of fear

It’s pretty clear not only is Lillard the rare basketball players who can really rap, he’s also part of a growing chorus of athletes not afraid to speak out about issues important to them.

In an interview with USA Today, Lillard said he hoped to raise awareness of “what’s going on” and promote change.

“I was inspired by all the things going on around us, I felt like it was important that it was addressed,” Lillard told USA TODAY Sports. “It affects all of us, whether in a positive for negative way. For someone with my platform, I felt like it was a great opportunity to express that. I’m not on either side. You know, I think that when we stand together, a lot more can be accomplished.”

Like a lot of young black men, Lillard has had experience with racial profiling. While a senior at Weber State, he was stopped while driving his car through the state of Nevada and was sat for three hours as the patrolmen tore apart his car looking for drugs.

Keep the music coming, Dame.

Alex Putterman

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a recent Northwestern University graduate who, in addition to covering Wildcats sports, has worked for and the Hartford Courant and also contributed to Baseball Prospectus, and more. His interests include baseball, rap music, the criminal justice system and some other things that don't seem to go together. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.