Life happens when you’re busy making plans. Leimert Park native, Dom Kennedy learned this principle first-hand years ago, when he thought he’d be a baseball player. Young Dominic Hunn dominated the field and his cohorts, scoring double takes from college scouts and the like. His dream was to earn a living as an athlete- rapping was just a hobby. However, once he started making full length projects with Future Street/ Drug Sounds and The 25th Hour, Dom found that he was dope enough to eat off of making heads nod.
Still riding on the cool-kid classic, From the Westside With Love, Dom Kennedy is set to gain even more respect as an up and coming rapper out of Cali. With a renewed thirst for success, Dom is in the midst of constructing his fourth mixtape, From The Westside Part 2. We caught up with the L.A. artist to talk about his childhood hopes, regrets and ever-elusive perfection.
Major League Dreams: “I did [want to have a career in baseball]. Especially when I was about 12to 15 years old, I was actually on all-star teams and things like that. I played mostly first base. I pitched a little bit but I played mostly first base and third base. I was starting to get recruited by colleges pretty early so you know? That’s what my goal was and that was really the only thing that I saw myself doing.”
Higher Learning: “I majored in business management. I absolutely use what I learned, absolutely, everyday. I mean, not so much the other stuff they teach you in high school and college, but the business classes, you know even a lot of sociology classes. I’m glad I took classes like those, I think about stuff like that… But definitely the business part of it. Yup.”
The Thing About From The West Side: “Man, the openness about it. The things that were about me and my life that people could relate to their own life and a lot of that just comes from growing and understanding what you do well and what you don’t do well. I also think I got a lot better. First and foremost. You can say you want to talk about this or that but if it’s not good, it’s not presented in the right way, people are not gonna respond to it. I definitely think that I got a lot better. Definitely since The 25th Hour, but even since Future Street-my last project that had original music on it… Even my songs are way more advanced like I grew up a lot.”
L.A. Representative: “I would say that the artistry [in my music] reflects not only Leimert Park but just L.A., and L.A. rappers I love and what they did. The artistry in terms of giving people something to visualize in the music, like, when you hear one of my songs, or I’m tryna write it… I hope that… A lot of people tell me that they’ve never been to L.A., or never been to Leimert but through my songs, you know, they kinda get a feel or an idea through my songs, or just the things that I say.”
On the New Sound Coming Out of L.A.: “On I think it’s just something that you just get up and do. I think it’s just natural. I don’t think anybody’s trying to do anything different… If anything, and I can only speak for myself, I think that I’m trying to do it like DJ Quik did it, or Ice Cube did it, but this is just my way of doing it therefore I guess it’s natural. But I’m not trying to do anything, you know, different or to say, ‘This is new.’ I haven’t really set out to do that, if anything, I set out to do it the way they did it, just in my own way.”
On Regrets: “I can’t think of anything really. I can’t think of anything. I might have added another verse towards the end of [25th Hour], or put another song towards the end, but that’s really it. Maybe instead of shouting people out, which was what I wanted to do at the time, I’d just put a song there.”
On Taking Rap Seriously: “By the time, From The Westside With Love came out, it was my job. You know? When 25th Hour came out I was just having fun. I didn’t know how serious it could get. I never thought that I could put out 25th Hour and be in a discussion with like, serious rappers who were living off of Rap music. You know what I’m saying? I ain’t know nothing about that. I ain’t know people were gonna want to manage me, I ain’t know people were gonna want me to come travel and perform, I didn’t really know anything about that so by the time From The Westside With Love came out, I was fully aware of everything. I know what type of songs I wanna make now. I know how much one song could change everything. I know how much is at stake. I know people paying attention, listening to me, and tryna see what I’m doing. I know they know that I’m coming and all this stuff is in my mind.”
The Tipping Point: “Watermelon Sundae” Video: “I was serious about it [rapping] but it didn’t become a job, until I came out with From The Westside With Love and after, like now, I live that… But we were just still having fun, you know? The ‘Watermelon Sundae’ video was like a science project. I was rapping, my cousin went to school, it was like, we just did it ‘cause we could, we were talented and so, we did it. We played it for our family, they’re like, ‘Oh! Let’s watch the video.’ They thought it was cool but it was nothing more than that. I mean, it ended up being real popular and good for us but wasn’t really anything more than that.”
The Journey to Part Two: “It’s looking good. We’re working everyday. As far as the release date, I can’t really say right now… I’ma just take my time. I’m not even really… I’m only about five, ten percent in, to where I really need to be. I’m not even in the middle, so I can’t even say but it won’t be that long, time goes by quick. It’ll be in the springtime for sure.”
Definition of Perfect: “I’m not a perfectionist. Um, I’m like, an imperfection perfectionist. Like, I see the perfection in things that’re not perfect. I use the things that’s not perfect to work in my favor you know? So I’m not a perfectionist per se, but I just like to feel like I’m ready and my best… If it was my last, I could live with that. All of this, it’s not promised. If something happened or whatever, I don’t make music again and From The Westside With Love 2 is my last project, it needs to be the best thing that I ever did. So when that happens it’ll come out.”
On the Difference Between Part One and Two: “It’s definitely gonna be different, it’s gonna be more focused. A more mature… I mean, I don’t know how you don’t get better every time you put something out, but I don’t want to take anything from From The Westside With Love and say, it’s gonna be ‘way better.’ But pretty much, it has to be, because I understand things better. I’ve done it more, I’ve lived a little bit… It’ll be different, you know what I’m saying? It’ll definitely be different , it won’t be the same thing, I’m not used to doing the same thing but it’ll be a continuation of the story that I laid out on the first one.”
Follow Dom Kennedy on Twitter at @DopeItsDom and visit his website.