Rapper Domo Genesis’ eponymous album “Genesis” is aptly named: Although he has been rapping for years, it is his first solo studio album. Domo, a rapper from the Los Angeles area, is primarily known for being a member of the hip-hop collective Odd Future, comprised of artists such as Tyler, the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt and Frank Ocean. Although they had released mixtapes in the past, Odd Future released their only studio album, “The OF Tape Vol. 2,” in 2012. However, the members of the group have since gone in different directions, leading fans to speculate whether they have officially disbanded.
Thus far, Domo Genesis has perhaps been less memorable than other Odd Future members, from the skilled rapper Earl to the unpredictably silly Tyler. Domo’s solo mixtapes, such as 2010’s “Rolling Papers” and 2011’s “Under the Influence,” have been quite impressive but did not stand out from other examples of stoner rap. 2012’s “No Idols” was a noteworthy mixtape, but mostly as a result of the powerful and experimental beats from its producer, The Alchemist.
“Genesis” gave Domo an opportunity to hone his rapping style and further his success outside the shadow of Odd Future. Fortunately, the album shows Domo’s growth as an artist, as it is a strong and cohesive album with an upbeat vibe and introspective themes.
Domo explores his uncertainty about his future throughout the album, but manages to express his message in a positive way. Acknowledging this doubt, Domo expresses pride in his career progress and excitement for what is to come through his lyrics.
“One Below” features an intro from Domo’s mother expressing her pride in her son over a slow, relaxed beat. She says “Bye-bye, baby boy, time for a lift off,” cueing an energetic drum interlude before Domo begins rapping with newfound vigor and enthusiasm, perhaps signifying a new stage in his career. Despite the overall positive vibe of the song and the album as a whole, Domo does show insecurities about rapping, through lyrics such as, “The same gift that got me paper, I be stressing from it.” Yet this very insecurity is what makes his message more genuine. He admits on “One Below” that he feels lost and has far to go, but he seems to be happy pushing further with his rap ambitions — “If this what comes from being lost, then I’m proud of it,” he raps.
These themes dominate many of the songs and tie the album together as a whole. On “Wanderer,” Domo initially wonders if he is crazy, but interjects hopeful tones as he begins to doubt himself less. Domo also questions his path in life in “Questions,” asking himself, “Are you afraid to let your dreams and life intersect?” “Dapper,” the album’s first single, featuring Anderson P However, in the midst of the introspective themes and relaxed atmosphere of the album, one single, “Go (Gas),” seems anomalous with its feature artists — Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J and Tyler, The Creator — bragging about their fame and drug use with a repetitive, catchy beat. Another weakness of the album is that the hooks are not as catchy as those on other rap albums. “Faded in the Moment” simply has many repetitions of “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” and other songs are not particularly memorable.
Nevertheless, the album makes up for its lack of catchy hooks with its upbeat atmosphere and contemplative themes. Domo finally seems to have found his voice in this album and it is by far his most personal work. Themes of self-doubt are present throughout, yet Domo manages to convey them in a positive manner and appears to be overcoming his fears. Although listeners who seek hard-hitting, aggressive rap songs may be disappointed, hip-hop fans who approach this album with an open mind will thoroughly enjoy it. Domo Genesis fans will also likely be impressed with his growth and look forward to his future work.
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