JBL hosts Damian Lillard as he launches a new record label and presents a special performance by Talib Kweli.
On a Monday night between games vs. the Nets and the Knicks, the Portland Trailblazers point guard and budding rap star, Damian Lillard aka Dame D.O.L.L.A. hosted a unique event. Keeping up with the long history of NBA stars pursuing rap careers, Lillard has been following suit over the past few years. Along the way, he’s gained notoriety and respect from fellow players, rappers, and most importantly fans as a serious artist.
The event, which took place at the Harman store on 5th avenue, was a blend of sports and hip-hop. The evening began with DJ Wonder spinning a mix of old school beats along with a few singles off of Lillard’s album. After which, the official program was kicked off by Hot 97’s Miss Info who introduced Lillard to say a few words about his music interests. Flanked by his teammates on their off day, it turns out that Dame was celebrating a few milestones in his life, the release of his album “The Letter 0” the launch of his record label, Front Page Music, and the winners of his popular #4BarFriday series. Lillard, spoke about his passion for music and about creating an avenue for aspiring rappers to promote themselves. The latest 4 winners of his Instagram #4BarFriday rap challenge came on stage next to deliver their original rhymes to beats now spun by Hot 97’s DJ Enuff. It was inspiring to hear and see the energy that these underground MC’s were able to bring in front of a crowd full of strangers.
It was now time for the main event, a performance by rapper Talib Kweli. Best known for his work with Mos Def as part of the rap duo Black Star, Talib came out performing some of his new music. The crowd, not hearing anything familiar at first was luke warm until he called us out to “clap when someone performs”. After warming up the crowd, Talib jumped into his classic work including “The Blast”, “Hot Thing”, and of course “Get By”. Before wrapping up, Talib took a slight detour when DJ Enuff dropped the beat for “Get Em High”, a 2003 collaboration with Kanye West. Talib cut the track short and went on a rant against President Elect Trump, while also saying he needed to “check” Kanye, referring to his recent support of President Elect Trump. Talib capped his performance on a high night performing the aforementioned “Get By”.
As the official audio sponsor of the NBA, JBL by Harmon put together a fun event that was the true intersection of sports and music.