Interview: Rising Stars #6 “Dom Kennedy”
Dom Kennedy Interview ‘Rising Stars’ #6
L.A. L.A. big city of dreams, the city of palm trees, barbecues, hot girls and bomb ass weed. Other than that, it’s the hometown of Leimart Park resident Dom Kennedy. Dom has been doing his thing for several years now on the mixtape scene, but has not really earned his accolades yet on the mainstream tip. Despite that, Dom has no intention of stopping his grind and is therefore gearing up a commercial album for all of his fans.
The album is called The Yellow Album, and is gonna be available for downloading June 21st. Some of you are probably already familiar with his first single “My Type Of Party” which is heavily on rotation right now. So if you love the classic Westcoast sound but with a new school twist, it’s inevitable for you to get the album. Being one of the front figures of the New West alongside people like Skeme, Nipsey Hussle, Casey Veggies, Pac Div, Fashawn, Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolBoy Q and the rest of the TDE camp, Dom is definitely experiencing growth as an artist and it’s only a matter of time before the talented L.A. rapper is gonna break through.
We got the opportunity to interview Dom and we talked about various things concerning his new album, his sound, fashion, influences, his recent tour, his OpM company, his participation in one of the BET cyphers, XXL and many other things. If you love the Westcoast and the things that’s going on over there, it’s highly recommended that you check this interview out!
Special thanks to Max Robin
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1. How did you get into rapping?
Started of as a young kid just being a fan, i always had the ability to remember raps song easily, i would listen to songs that i really like and recite them word for word, and then eventually those song that i love i started tayloring them into my own, adding my own lyrics to it on some funny shit. It was just funy chainging the words and then in about 2005, my cousin was a dj and i would just rap a little bit and we would record shit on instrumentals of his vynils, recording little raps, it was just one take, put them on cd’s and just listen to them for fun, we thought we was doing it big at that time *laughs*, but that became something i was doing everyday and realize i had full notebooks of raps, so at one point i was like i need beats, i wanted to make real songs. In 2007 i started recording the 25th hour and it came out in 2008. I been on the road ever since to get where i’m at today.
2. Which rappers/producers have influenced you the most?
Ice Cube, Nas, BIG, DJ Quick, The Dogg Pound, all these that were doin it big when i was little, those have influenced me and impressed me the most.
3. What makes Leimert Park different from other parts of L.A. and how was it growing up there?
I don’t even know, i don’t really hang out in other parts of L.A., that’s why i only talk about Leimert Park, i don’t feel the need to speak on shit that ain’t really got nothing to do with me.I’ll talk about the shit that i know, i don’t talk about Inglewood we got Casey Veggies and Skeme, i don’t talk about Slauson we got Nipsey for that, in Compton that’s what Kendrick does, that’s why i’m fans of them you know, i talk about what i know but to answer your question it’s prolly the same tho, all the hoods are similar.
4. You got excluded from the XXL Freshmen cover unfortunately, what is your opinion on their selection policy and this year’s line up?
*He smiles* i mean , i don’t really have an opinion to be honest, i don’t veen know their policy to select guys, that would be interesting to find out, i don’t know what the criteria, it’s not something that i have an opinion on really, it’s not something that i think about or something that affects me, it’s kinda like it is what it is, a few years ago, i was kinda interested in it, i had a couple thoughts about it and that was it, the last two years, i wasn’t really surprised to not be in it, it’s just like what do people feel like who people wants to see win, that’s cool.
5. How did it feel being a participant in one of the BET cyphers?
That was a interesting experience for sure, it was dope, in this country especially because BET is popular, i noticed that people in different parts of the country knew who i was after that, even in states like Ohio, Virginia, place where normally people don’t know who i was, and now i’m like at a subway on some random shit and a kid ask to take a picture and mention seeing me on BET so it’s real, it was dope for the exposure.
6. You’ve known Rick Ross since ’09 and you’ve been in the lab together, can we expect to hear some songs with you guys soon?
Yeah definitely, he’s on The Yellow Album, on one of my favorite songs on there, we actually recorded at his house, it’s dope, people can look forward to that, we did a couple of songs together but the one i got on The Yellow Album is special!
7. You have this classic Westcoast feel in your delivery, is there any reason why you choose to rap like that?
Once again, what else would i rap about and what other style would be mine, like i don’t know what else to be, the place that i come from, the things i did, i can’t do nothing else, i know what the power is to be yourself, i seen the niggas on top, younger people might not be the same perception as mine but me it’s just that i don’t know what else to do, i don’t wanna try to be someone else and i don’t do it on purpose it’s just that Westcoast shit is what i am you, feel me?
8. What can you tell us about OpM?
Yeah it’s official now, it’s my company, it’s the new Def Jam, it’s the new Roc-A-Fella, the new Death Row, but in a new time and a new place, i’m not trying to do what people already did, i’m just following the blueprint that people have layed down, that’s just like being loyal, create a brand that stands for something, have a premiere artist and build the other around, just continuing the story, hopefully being able to put other artists one and give them the right guidelines so they don’t make the same mistakes i made. L.A. Company, me and Archie Davis, we carrying on the L.A. music and lifestyle to the world, art, entertainment, give people a platform to shine on and be somebody.
9. What is your favorite clothing brand and favorite pair of kicks?
Yo these vans i got on now, i been wearing the shit outta these since i got them, they’re called “W Taps”, “burgundy bones” pack, they dope!
10. What’s on your iPod right now?
Since i got back from tour, i been listening to what people are considering tight, what’s “moving” the market, Schoolboy Q, ASAP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar’s new shit, like it’s hard when you on tour to follow people’s new music, like i was at Kendrick’s new video and i didn’t even know the song, i know that it’s popular, but i just didn’t know it, it’s good to know what’s poppin’, what’s the sound of it, teh quality of it, what people like. Casey Veggies new tape is dope too.
11. How was the “This Is Dom Kennedy” tour, and when can we expect you here in Europe?
The “This is Dom Kennedy” tour was 23 shows, i was on tour for a whole month, it was real dope, my first US tour , i was headlining, went all over the US, we sold out a lot of big shows, bringing over 1000 people many times, it was crazy. Europe, i’m gon be out there late summer, early fall, hopefully scandinavia, i wanna see Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, get to rock with the people out there, get some new fans, meet the people that are already been down with me for a minute, it’s going to be dope!
12. What can you tell us about “The Yellow Album” as far as concepts, productions and guest features?
The concept was just to create a masterpiece, some crazy fly shit, that’s what i feel that i did, the production is just i feel like the music is important, it’s what you gravitate to, the words compliment that, i always been good at words and telling the stories but i feel like now i got music to compliment that. For the features, i got Rick Ross on there, i got Too $hort, i probably will have a couple others on there by the time is comes out.
13. We know that DJ Quik is someone that you really admire and would like to work with, but is there any other producers/rappers out there you would love to collaborate with?
Yeah we definitely got some stuff in the works with Quik and we will have more stuff in the future, i know he’s working on the El Debarge album right now. I spoke to him about mixing some of the songs from The Yellow Album, just lending me his hear, overseeing a lot of shit, just making sure everything is polished. He said he got me whatever i need, so that’s probably ‘til the end of my career i will be working with Quik.
14. Mac Miller and TDE is a perfect example of being successful as an independent artist, with the creative space to do music exactly the way you want it to be made. Do you think that being independent is the right way to go as a hip-hop artist, now that the internet has become so powerful?
It’s just up to the individual really, what works for me might not work for you, it’s just something i did out of necessity, a lot of people can’t handle it, it’s just about marketing and money really and some people can do that by themselves.
15. What do you know about Scandinavia?
Mannn! *laughs* not really a lot, what places is Scandinavia already? Denmark? You guys got hot dogs i heard there, that’s one of my favorite shit! Sweden? They make Volvos in Scandinavia and IKEA shit *laughs*, i need to come out there! (promoters holla at firstname.lastname@example.org)
16. What do you wanna be remembered for?
Just a style, a vibe, one of the ones that did it the best, someone that stayed true to himself, an inspiring person. Michael Jordan was great, Michael Jackson, Jay-Z and Steven Spielberg because they added something. I want to inspire people, inspire kids.
17. What can we expect from you in the future?
A tour in Europe, just going worlwide, quality music to come with dope lyrics, it’s just the beginning really, this is the first summer or many many many to come! This is an introduction really, expect quality.