Listening to From The Westside, With Love was one of the first instances that I realized that summer was quickly approaching. It inspired day dreams of BBQ’s, cold beer, and girls in revealing clothing. So now that we are in the middle of what most would call “summer” (it’s still cold as hell in The Bay!), it’s about time the Leimert Park Legend gave us a visual from his most recent project. “1997” was definitely in my top 3 songs on From The Westside, With Love, therefore I’m happy to see that it was chosen as the mixtape’s first video. While I wish there could be more to the visual component, the desert location is cool, the image quality is CUTCO sharp, and the editor did a good job of making a guy lip-synching in one place not as boring as it should be. If you have yet to cop Dom’s latest mixtape, be sure to add it into your summer rotation by clicking here.
I’ve heard the weather has been pretty horrible out East, but for all of us that have been on the left side of the map over the past 2-3 weeks, it’s almost as if summer came early. 70 degrees and cloudless in March? All you haters can’t say nothing about that! Anyways, days like we’ve had recently make me start thinking about the actual summer, and looking for music that embodies that feeling of relaxed joy you get from doing nothing more than just laying in the sun. All bias aside, I think the West has that type of sound on lock. I remember being 16 years old thinking about why people no longer listened to West Coast music. I kept on wondering “What do they bump when it’s nice out and they wanna burn some trees? Wu-Tang is tight, Killer Mike is raw, but I wouldn’t ever play that shit at a BBQ.” I’ve since found some music from east of The Rockies that’s cool for a sunny day, but nothing that matches that feeling of some 90’s E-40, DJ Quick, Operation Stackola, or anything produced by Battlecat. So leave it up to another MC from Cali to hit us with the first album of the year tailored made to put a smile on your face when you’re kicking it outside, or rolling around town with the windows down.
I first started listening to Dom Kennedy about a year and half ago. A friend of mine told me to look him up for a concert I was putting together, and although that didn’t work out, it got me to download his first, and still my favorite project, 25th Hour, and I’ve been a fan ever since (Catch up on Dom’s full discography, including From The Westside, With Love, for FREE here. Dom’s got a smooth and light hearted approach to the way that he raps that makes him easily distinguishable even after just a few listens. His flow is slow and drawn out, but far from lazy. It conforms to the beat, yet has a cadence unlike practically any other rapper I’ve heard. He mos def is not a thug, and I wouldn’t call him an LA hipster either. His music gives you the sense that he’s just a cool guy that likes to drink, smoke, go out to party, and hang out with the ladies. He exhibits great balance because his projects aren’t so lovey dovey that it will make all the fellas want to turn it off (although some will disagree with me), but at the same time Dom doesn’t really spit anything offensive or ultra aggressive that will make the ladies feel uncomfortable. Out of rappers that are out today, I think he makes some of the best hip-hop for situations when you’re with a diverse group of people with lots of different musical interests, and you just want to vibe out to some cool shit.
With his newest album, From The Westside, With Love, Dom gives the fans his fourth free project in two years. It’s 16 songs deep, an hour long, and a feel good record from start to finish. Lyrically Dom continues to solidify the style he’s been working on since 25th Hour, and earns my respect by not really letting up on any tracks, regardless of their subject matter. On “1997” Dom raps for 3 minutes straight without a chorus about topics ranging from growing up in Leimert Park, picking up ladies, the music he listens to, his career, and in general how dope he is. “The Hotels” is one of many songs dedicated to the females, and features Dom rapping about the women that spend the night in his hotel rooms, over a smooth keyboard and synthesizer combo reminiscent of some 90’s West Coast gangsta luv tracks, paired with modern drums capable of setting off car alarms. Yet for everyone that gets bored with songs about being a laid back player, “A Leimert Park Song” is a track for all of the hip-hop heads out there. Dom raps about his determination to make it in the game with an organ and vocal heavy soul sample and some simple drums that get your lips curving upwards and your head nodding like a sports souvenir.