Leimert Park legend, Dom Kennedy, is a West Coast staple. One of the kings of the blog era, coming up with the likes of YG, Kendrick Lamar, and the late Nipsey Hussle. Dom's come up was around the time when the prototype rapper was still gravitating towards gangster rap. Breaking all stereotypes, Dom Kennedy stayed true to himself, describing a South Central lifestyle of the average joe. Critics describe his flow as not having a sense of urgency and lacking substance; but if you dissect his lyrics you will see he's full of witty punchlines, clever charisma with a player persona. A lot of fans admire him because he doesn't compromise his art for a big ass check which has kept his music pure from the heart.
Though he describes life in the Leimert Park section of Los Angeles, he's able to relate to the common man all across the country. Dom Kennedy has an uncanny ability to go from light-hearted to serious subject matter without losing a beat. His lyrics embody the balance of life; there’s good and bad in everything. Through Dom's art of storytelling, he shows there's a Leimert Park in every town.
Kennedy has been able to maintain a consistency that surpassed his contemporaries. Summer after summer, Dominic gives us a tape to vibe out to. Hard beats accompanied with straightforward bars, there’s no need to dissect the lyrics. With the masterpieces he released over the years, we slimmed it down to his top 5 projects:
5. The Original Dom Kennedy (2011)
One of his under-appreciated projects, probably because of minimal promotion, Dom provides a tape with a more aggressive flow than he is known for. His flow on this project is reminiscent of his mixtapes 25th Hour and The Best After Bobby. He is attuned with his Los Angeles roots on this project. This tape is known for the infamous Funkmaster Flex diss "The Homies," in response to him disrespecting 2Pac's legacy. Majority of production was handled by Polyester and Chuck Inglish, providing heavy synths and funk comparable to the Death Row days. He draws from his early influences mashed in with the OPM sound on this project.
4. Get Home Safely (2013)
Dom's second commercial release was mainly produced by Mike & Keys with assistance from DrewByrd, DJ Tech, DJ Khalil and DJ Mustard. Dom Kennedy uses minimal features, showing no gimmicks. The features from Krondon, Skeme, Ty Dolla Sign and the late Nipsey Hussle are ephemeral but plays a significant role in the album. The subject matter relates to a young man going through his ups and downs just trying to make it home safely. One of his more vulnerable albums with tales of being late on rent and getting a girlfriend pregnant. Get Home Safely reinforces his ability to paint a picture of South Central with his lyrics that relates to the average joe that listens to his music.
3. From The Westside With Love II (2011)
For his first commercial release, Dom came with next-level production and more commercial appeal. A continuation of the OPM From The Westside With Love, Dom created a sound of his own. He upgraded his sound on the sequel, to a more upbeat flow with songs like “Grindin” and “New Jeeps”. He begins to have consistent producers he works with like Polyester and Mike & Keys. This album explains a town known to be Ruthless has it’s good and fun times too. The album features guest appearances from Asher Roth, Mikey Rocks, Polyester, Big KRIT, Casey Veggies and Schoolboy Q.
2. From The Westside With Love (2010)
2010's From The Westside With Love was Dom's breakthrough album. By the time he reached his 5th project, Kennedy perfected his sound. With an effortless flow layered on smooth instrumentals, Dom finds his comfort zone. The project consists of 16 monumental tracks; Dom Kennedy provides an unique perspective with sharp lyrics and smooth beats. From the Westside With Love is Dom's thesis of not needing gang ties to be a successful rapper from the West Coast. He blends together a list of local talents such as Overdoz, Skeme, and Cartier.
1. Yellow Album (2012)
Best project from Dom Kennedy hands down. With the built-up momentum from his earlier projects, Summer of 2012 was a special time to be outside when Dom Kennedy dropped the Yellow Album. Dom was able to get top-notch features from Too $hort, Freddie Gibbs, Rick Ross, and rising star at the time, Kendrick Lamar. The production was jammin' with contributions from T.H.C., Polyester, Drew Byrd, DJ Dahi, and Chase N. Cashe. The stars aligned for him on the Yellow Album. Everything was just right, not too lyrical nor too beat heavy.