Who is Domo Genesis? To those who know Odd Future from Tyler, the Creator’s polarizing 2010 debut Bastard, he’s a founding Odd Future member who can flip weed smoking into a thousand different punchlines. If you know Odd Future from Frank Ocean’s sparse guest appearances and Loiter Squad episodes, he’s the funny weed carrier whose identifiable by voice more than name. Those completely unfamiliar with OFWGKTA will deem him an unknown.
On his aptly titled debut Genesis, Domo explicitly lets you know he’s none of that, all of that, and more at the same time. The album plays like a baptism by fire of an MC battling with paralyzing self-doubt before acceptance sets in. Domo still reps his clique on the album, but Genesis is more ambitious than simply being an incendiary retrospective on Odd Future, ripe with defaming lyrics.
Additionally, Genesis marks the most mature sounding album from an Odd Future artist since Ocean’s channel ORANGE. The maturity is evident from the sheer lack of over-the-top debaucherous lyrics that are a penchant of the rebellious group that entered the national consciousness, literally, on the back of Jimmy Fallon. “Never thought me finding me, would distances me from the team, shit,” Domo raps on the melancholic “One Below” which starts with his mother sharing her undying support to being “the bullet in your glock.”
But, it’s the subtle sequencing-deliberate to show his progression—that elevates the project from merely a delinquent to being the tale of a reformed man. The first half of the 12-track opus is drenched in mid-tempo drum patterns with morose bass lines, perfect backdrops. With soulful crooner, and Odd Future affiliate, Tay Walker sanguinely gliding through the Cam O’Bi murky production, singing about “waking up in a lucid dream” on the album’s third track “Wanderer,” Domo “starts to lose all the doubt I had in my spirit now.” He even questions if “this weed keep me from going clinically insane” on album standout “Questions,” a stark departure from the usual braggadocios rhymes about his boatloads of OG Kush.
Producers such as Sha Money XL (“One Below”), Mike & Keys (“Awkward Groove”), Christian Rich (“My Own”), and MaffYuu (“Questions”) delver a mix of elegant piano chimes, punchy drums, dirty basslines that scrunch your face and ambient synths that can sedate even the most troubled of minds. The production IV drips its progression until “Coming Back” injects the album with energy to start the second half of the album. The Sap-produced “Coming Back” glides in on the delicate singing burst, morphing into a pulsating, funky bass, setting the sonic tempo for the rest of the project.
But, Domo not being Domo, in a way, keeps this album from transcending into legendary lore. Even if you have only heard one verse from him before Genesis, you probably heard him shooting witty lines with a machine gun like flow. The MC who brashly boasted “nigga Dom so cool, I refer him in third person” on Tyler’s 2013 record “Rusty” is still there on the boastful “Gas (Go),” but without the wit; just the aggression. The album being completely devoid of rewind-button worthy lyrical displays does not cheapen the experience, but does come to mind when songs like “All Night” appear near the end of the album, yet sound similar to cuts that came multiple tracks ago. Even when Cam O’Bi returns with “Faded in the Moment,” it sounds like a bouncier version of “Wanderer.”
In the end, we are listening to a new Domo Genesis and the Genesis is as good of a start as any this year.