Dom Kennedy on the Rap Game: "When Things Ain't Working, You Got to Try New Things"
Dom Kennedy can't sell his Get Home Safely LP exclusively at Best Buy without a major label backing him ...
If you buy that one, then I would like to discuss an igloo property investment opportunity in Nevada that is sure to be prosperous. It comes with its own polar bear.
Of course, the former statement isn't that far off the mark, considering an independent artist's project being sold at a big-box chain without major distribution backing was unprecedented.
But Kennedy, the Los Angeles Dodgers hat-wearing 29-year-old born Dominic Hunn, pulled it off, getting his album on Best Buy's shelves and selling 10,000 copies of Get Home Safely in its first week.
He outlined the "new rules" of 2013. He relayed the greatest lesson that he's learned since having a son. And, of course, he asked his own question.
Crossfade: How often do you take time to drive around just because?
Dom Kennedy: I try to as much as possible. I don't get to as much anymore. But a couple times a week at least.
Is it to clear your head? Or for inspirational purposes?
Both. More than that, it might be a destination. I might drive by someplace, and so that reminds me of something or I see something is still here or somebody's house.
What's the greatest memory you have of Crenshaw?
The most memorable thing about Crenshaw is that it ain't nothing really nothing to remember at all. It's just a street. The repetitiveness is the love.
I talk about it because the rainy days or the day after, you know? The five days out the week are on the same street, coming from the same school.
It's nothing that special. But at the same time, that's what's special about it, the repetitiveness, the home feeling of it, of doing the same thing all the time.
Last year seemed to have been the year of "new rules" with how albums were released such as Jay Z's Magna Carta, Holy Grail, Nipsey Hussle's $100 Crenshaw mixtape, Beyoncé's latest album, and your Get Home Safely. What would you attribute that to?
I would attribute that to people realizing they've got the means to do everything. To do not everything, but to get their product out in the way they see fit, however they see fit, however many for however much. It's like any store or any company or any brand would do it. Like Pepsi sales ain't like Coca-Cola sales.
Nothing is standard. At times, when things ain't working, you got to try new things. The smart people, they come with new ways, new ideas, or they figure it out. And the people that don't, they just get left.
What's the best time you've had with other people's money?
Going on tour, I guess, what I'm about to do. That's probably the best it can get for an artist.
See also: Miami's Top Ten Rappers on the Come-Up
The video for "South Central Love" is a collage of a few L.A.-based movies such as Friday, Menace II Society, and Boyz n the Hood. And all those movies seem to tell a different version of life in L.A., but what movie would you say comes closest to encompassing all aspects of L.A.?
None of them. "South Central Love." My video don't look like none of them movies. I don't think it does, and none of those movies tell the whole story. Only "South Central Love" does. That's why it's like that.
I'm from L.A. They was playing. My life is better. I got all them cars.
But my movie is actually better. That's what I was trying to show people. They was acting. I'm not acting. My shit is real. I did all that and some more.
I can see where you're coming from, because even though those are all actors it does seem like your video does bring every aspect of what people may perceive L.A. to be. You have the chill shit, you have the scene where you're playing dominoes with Nipsey Hussle in red light like in "Menace II Society".
It's just bringing it up to speed, really. That's what I was trying to do. I don't have a 100-minute movie. My shit is only three minutes. I got to put it all in there. I had acting. I had talking. That's why I wasn't rapping. It's plain as day to see. But that shit's just too much. Imma slow it down, though. Imma make the real long version, then people will see what I'm talking about.
Finish this sentence: Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw's seven-year $215 million contract is ...
Perfect. I mean, he should get paid. And he going to help start pitching some perfect games.
What's the greatest lesson you've learned since the birth of your son?
Man, it's a lot of them. I don't even know. It's a lot of them. A lot things, I already knew. But it makes you more aware of everything. For me, it just heightened my urgency to say something important. I don't want to say something important, but just say something that means something.
Now it's your turn to ask me a question.
Niggas really rocking Tom Ford?
Pfft ... Not me.
[Laughs] I wanted to know. I keep hearing the song that say "Tom Ford." I was just wondering if people actually rock Tom Ford.
Not me, homie. I've already grown tired of the song.
Dom Kennedy. With special guest Skreme. Friday, February 7. Avenue D, 8 S. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets cost $20 plus fees via ticketweb.com. Call 305-371-4823 or visit avenuedjazz.com.
Follow Lee Castro on Twitter @LeeMCastro
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