Artist: Dom Kennedy
Album Title: From The Westside, With Love II
Label: The OpM Company
Release Date: 6/28/2011
The new west movement has brought us an abundance of quality music this past year. Up and coming artists such as Odd Future, Kendrick Lamar, Marz Lovejoy, Nipsey Hussle, Kreayshawn, Lil B, and Casey Veggies can all be attributed to the resurgence of the west coast hip hop scene. But while the media has had its attention focused on the flamboyant antics of dudes like Tyler The Creator and Lil B, Los Angeles rapper Dom Kennedy has been quietly on the come up. After previously releasing numerous successful mixtapes, Dom looks to further establish his presence, not just in the west but all over the map as he independently drops his debut commercial album. It should be noted that going completely independent is a bold move for an artist, especially one who has turned down numerous lucrative record deals. However this move that may ultimately pay off for Dom. From The Westside With Love II is a solid project and is one of the most organic bodies of work to come out of this new west movement, as Dom Kennedy effectively blends modern musical trends with elements of his left side roots to create an album that will make a great addition to your summer soundtrack.
No matter where you are in the world or what kind of whip you drive, when you listen to a good portion of From The Westside With Love II, you will feel like you’re cruising down Sunset Boulevard with the top down. The main reason for this is the production, as Dom enlists fellow west coast residents like Polyester, The Futuristiks, and Scoop Deville to lace him with beats full of that SoCal Flavor. Some of the songs might even make you a bit nostalgic as the production on tracks like “O.P.M.” and “Money Don’t Stop” are reminiscent of sounds from the G Funk Era. The beat on “Beats Hoes & Rhymes” also contains vibes from the early 90’s but stands out because it is funky yet super chill at the same time. Dom continues to pay homage to those who paved the way for him by taking a page out of Snoop Dogg‘s book as “Beats Hoes and Rhymes” begins with a skit of a radio DJ comically introducing the song, which of course is a reoccurring theme on Snoop’s debut album Doggystyle. While it is commendable to see Dom honor his roots, it is also nice to see him switch it up with a handful of beats that aren’t blatant west coast cuts. Songs like the “Dom’s Prayer” and the scratched up single “Grind’n” produced by Wiz Khalifa affiliate Cardo, help to balance out the album by giving listeners a stimulating break from the west coast ambiance that defines the rest of the project.
While the production on From The Westside With Love II is extremely consistent, the lyrics are quite the contrary. In fact, I must say this is the one area of the album that I was pretty disappointed with. In addition to being out shined on “New Jeeps” by Asher Roth and being consumed by the shadow of Big K.R.I.T. on “2mph” Dom fumbles on a lot of tracks including “Money Don’t Stop” when he spits odd lackluster lyrics like “That’s boss lingo / I ant f*ckin’ with you dingoes / Tryna let my chest hair show playing bingo.” However, Dom does his best to make up for his lack of lyrical abilities with a flow that is always on point and a swag that makes you forget that there’s not much behind his words. For example, on the track “Dream To Me” Kennedy spits the line “We at the Marriott / you on your period“. Obviously there is nothing special about the lyrical content of that line, but Dom makes it one of the most memorable lines on the track by altering the pronunciation of the word period in order to make it rhyme with the word Marriott, all while maintaining a perfect rhythm with his flow. Kennedy also makes up for his sub par bars by making sure that all the hooks on From The Westside With Love II are catchy. Weather it’s the auto tune chorus on ‘The Ways” or the hook on “She Ain’t In Love With Me” where Dom spits lines like “She just wanna shop / She ain’t in love with me / She just like my drop / She ain’t in love with me” it’s all very appealing to the ear. While Dom may not be the most “lyrical” rapper, that doesn’t mean he’s not a good one. Plus, that may be a reflection of the current state of hip-hop.
Like I said earlier, From The Westside With Love II is a wonderful album for the summertime. The west coast vibes given off throughout the project are perfect for barbecues, pool parties or just kicking it with the homies. However if you’re looking for an album with in depth lyrical substance, than this project may not be for you. While it is a fun and pleasurable album, it wasn’t that different from some of his previous mixtapes. So people may think that is good. Some people might think that is bad. With that being said I don’t know if this project has the potential to put him in the conversation of the top young guns in the game with names like Big K.R.I.T., J. Cole and fellow west coast MC Kendrick Lamar. But nonetheless Dom definitely does his thing on this project and delivers that funky California flavor that the game has been missing for a minute. At the end of the day this album is fun, and who can be mad at that?
Let’s face it – judging an album on a scale of 1 to 5 mics just won’t cut it — that’s more of a magazine thing. After constant office arguments regarding album ratings, we’ve decided to revise our album review process and fairly judge an artist’s work across multiple avenues. At iHipHop.com, we believe every album deserves an impartial review, taking into account both music and cultural relevance.