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Davis, California

Monday, February 26, 2024

Catching up with Black Family Day performer Dom Kennedy

There’s no denying that Los Angeles is the one of the most significant birthplaces of the West Coast hip-hop music scene. And better yet, L.A. native Dom Kennedy is quickly becoming one of those names to emerge from the West Coast feel and sound.

With five albums released and one entitled From the Westside with Love II that is scheduled to drop in June, Dom has established a large fan base despite not having a major industry co-sign or record label. Dom’s most recent mix-tape release, The Original Dom Kennedy, features 10 tracks that reflect Dom’s lyrical originality and authentic West Coast feel.

This past Saturday, Dom joined UC Davis’ 41st annual Black Family Day to perform a show on the East Quad. Entertainment Council put on the show, while Black Family Day is organized by the Cross Cultural Center. Just over an hour before his show, MUSE had the opportunity to sit down with Dom. Here’s what he had to say.

MUSE: Coming from Los Angeles, how has that environment affected you artistically in the hip-hop music scene?

Kennedy: I feel like it’s more of a background or setting where my story takes place, where music is based around my life, friends and family. Every good story has to happen somewhere. That’s it. That’s all I know and it’s not something that I set out to do. People ask me this question and I realize that it’s in my music a lot. But what else will I talk about? It’s the thing I know the most; it’s what I love and know best.

What kinds of events, people or feelings inspire you lyrically, specifically for your latest mixtape, The Original Dom Kennedy?

I just try to enjoy the moment and just travel. Ever since I put out From the Westside with Love last year, I’ve been traveling a lot. I’ve met a lot of people and seen a lot of things that helped me just, you know, talk about life outside of L.A. and understand that the things I talk about from an L.A. perspective can reach out and affect kids in my community and my city. As for my mixtape, I wanted to make music that was paying homage to the music I loved growing up – L.A. music in general. I wanted my music to reflect the feel of why I do what I do. So, that’s what the project of The Original Dom Kennedy was: it was a sound that allowed me to grow and create what I wanted to.

People are associating you with bringing the “West Coast hip-hop” back – do you agree? And what does that mean to you?

I don’t really know what they mean when they say that. But, I think they are talking in terms of L.A. artists on the verge of going mainstream. There was a time in music, especially rap more specifically, where L.A. was the place to be. And eventually, people think music will go back to that time again; but that’s what we gotta find out.

If you could collaborate with any musician or producer, dead or alive, who would that person be?

Man, a lot of people really. Yeah, I’d like to work with someone like Stevie Wonder; like arranging melodies would be cool. I think, of all time, The Isley Brothers, too. Just things like that. I’m really into soul music and I think it’d be dope if I can rap to them. Melodies are something that people across the world can understand. Some people don’t understand rap or aren’t into it but basically anybody can enjoy a good melody.

Are you currently working on any new projects?

I’m currently working on From the Westside with Love II and it’ll be out on June 28 on iTunes. For the last month, I’ve been really in the zone and making some really good material. Over the next three or four weeks, I’ll be recording new songs and basically continuing the journey until I feel like I have a complete story and project to tell.

UYEN CAO can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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