First. Let's take a look at history.
Where were you when you first heard "1997?" I remember that shit like yesterday. I was fucking around on twitter tweeting useless shit and I reminded myself to listen to a mixtape I downloaded earlier in the week that summer. "From The Westside With Love."
The only thing I can't recall was why I downloaded it to begin with. Once I got to "1997" I was like "Damn, why do I feel like this too?"
The whole tape was crazy to me. Simple. Straight to the point. Authentic. No corners cut. Nothing fancy. It was so Los Angeles. Just some tunes I can cruise around the summer nights to. "From The Westside With Love" was the first time I ever listened to Dom Kennedy. I've seen him and heard about him but never really felt the urgency to check out his music. I went back and checked out the stuff before that mixtape. Great shit.
What followed after "From The Westside With Love" was in my opinion one of the best 4 mixtape/album runs I've ever seen.
"The Original Dom Kennedy"
"From The Westside With Love II"
Everyone's favorite clearly is "Yellow Album." Some would argue "Yellow Album" is Dom's peak and he'll never top that project. I don't agree but I don't knock anyone for having that opinion. One thing I did know was that Dom Kennedy was one of my favorite rappers all time. If he was dropping something I would stop what I was doing and put gas in my whip, buy a pineapple vess soda and get ready to cruise to Dom raps.
The next 5 mixtapes/albums is where things get curious to me. It's one of the weirdest transitions I've ever seen in a rapper career. It's just very odd to me. First let's look at the projects.
"Get Home Safely"
"By Dom Kennedy"
"Best After Bobby 2"
"Los Angeles Is Not For Sale Vol 1"
Okay. "Get Home Safely" was solid to me had some good joints on there. Just a cool project. "After School" is one of my favorite Dom tracks ever.
"By Dom Kennedy" was the first album where I felt Dom was actually trying to rap. Like be lyrical and the project just felt really weird. I liked the first 4 songs and then it just didn't finish out strong. After listening to it in full I was like "That's It?" It felt very incomplete.
"Best After Bobby 2" was the worse shit Dom has ever made. First tape I ever "Move To Trash" on my Mac that had Dom's name on it.
Dom music was getting more and more sub-par. I couldn't believe it. I literally listened to "Platinum Chanel" afterwards and couldn't believe this was the same artist. It didn't make sense to me.
Now to the end of 2016.
I was standing in line for my bro Smino's show talking to the homies Adrian Walker and William H and I forgot how Dom came up in the convo but they asked me how the project "Los Angeles Is Not For Sale Vol 1" was.
I just looked at the ground and shook my head and they was like "Nooooooo."
I didn't want to say it but I had to. I had to be real. I didn't like it. Another underwhelming project from one of my favorite rappers.
I went home and listened to that album again and what I noticed on the last 2 projects Dom released was that his flow got lazier. The flow he had has always been real relaxed but on his new shit it seems like there is no effort.
The raps he performing sound like he just got the fuck outta bed so his voice sounds dull. The confidence in his delivery isn't as strong as it used to be. It sounds like he doesn't believe what he's saying. He's always off beat now which is weird and frustrating to hear because the production on his latest album is actually dope but it's like he's wasting the beats with the way he's rapping.
I'm just thinking "Does he have yes men around him? No way they sat in the studio and thought this was okay."
He's known for floating nicely on tracks on his previous joints and I don't know if this change of flow is on purpose or if he's uninspired. Is he just rapping for a check? Is he experimenting? Is there something personal he's been going through? What's going on?
The reason I'm a Dom Kennedy fan is because when he raps I can see "L.A." He's a very simple rapper but he's very vivid. I also can relate to him a lot. Me and Dom around the same age and some of the things he rap about I do also so it's always satisfying to hear an artist have the same interests as you. I understand all his references.
We all know Dom has money but he raps like a regular nigga. He raps about regular shit we all do and mix it with money talk but makes it sound playa and relatable. That's why we fuck with his earlier music so much. Yeah we don't have the cars he rap about but we do love tacos and pulling up to the kickbacks that he rap about.
Dom raps are supposed to be that playa shit. That pool side shit. That Kickback cracking and we got plenty of tree and liquor shit. That 70 degree weather so we at the car wash shit. That fuck the club get some takeout, a bottle, and layup with a chick shit.
Plus he'll rap some gems in the process. He can get deep lyrically in his own way.
Every time the weather was perfect all you would see on twitter was "Bring out the Dom Kennedy tapes." Now when you see Dom name on twitter he's getting slandered for his music. It breaks my heart.
He has it in him still. I know he does. Why? It's because of Hit-Boy.
The silver lining in all of this is "Half-A-Mil." The group he formed with producer Hit-Boy. When I heard "Workin" on the Half-A-Mil EP I was like 'THAT'S THE DOM WE KNOW! TALK THAT SHIT!" The same with "100 Rounds." The flow was on point. The confidence was there. He was on beat. It was vintage Dom Kennedy. He was back rapping like the real nigga we know him to be.
I don't know what Hit-Boy did to motivate but Dom flow was on point on the whole EP. He was back on his shit and the EP was actually dope so that's what made me feel he's not done. He has it in him still.
Dom if you reading this. I'm still a fan bruh despite not liking the latest album. I'm not trying to diss but get back to what got you this far. Lock in with the producers you made gems with. Polyester, Cardo, DSF, THC, DJ Mustard, Fly Union, Hit-Boy, Jlbs, Drewbyrd. Get back to the basics. Get back to that Champagne and Merlot shit. The shit you did on the Half-A-Mil EP, do that shit. Get back to making those smooth ass intermissions. As my nigga Rell Brodie says "We need Fat Dom back not Skinny Dom."
You made "1997" and on the strength of that I'll always give your music a chance.
I don't want another "Yellow Album" like everybody beg for. I just want good Dom Kennedy music. Period.
OPM til it's over.