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Dom Kennedy at the Cabooze, 2/3/14

Dom Kennedy at the Cabooze, 2/3/14
Photo by Mark N. Kartarik

Dom Kennedy

with Skeme and ThatGuySoda
Cabooze, Minneapolis
Monday, February 3, 2014

Dom Kennedy is a Los Angeles hip-hop artist attempting to uphold and stem outward from a classic West Coast gangsta ethic and sound, and a string of mixtapes and studio albums led to a rise in sales and presence on the charts. A recent interview with Forbes Magazine regarding his success as an independent artist was certainly good press for his latest offering, Get Home Safely, but the music had been consistently strong enough for years to speak for itself.

See Also: Slideshow: Dom Kennedy at the Cabooze, 2/3/14


DJ Enferno opened the night with a long set of material, spinning stuff like Migos, French Montana, and new Jay Z, chiming in every once in a while to either hype the audience or say something lewd. It was still early in the night but the place was already teeming with people, many in the very front who were already giving a good amount of their energy to cheering and dancing. When local opener ThatGuySoda came forward with a set of inspirational Northside rap, the audience vibed along but felt a little impatient for the main event. But tracks like "Midnight and Paris" and "RICHASFUCK" played well and geared people up for the night.
Dom Kennedy at the Cabooze, 2/3/14

Dom Kennedy at the Cabooze, 2/3/14
Photos by Mark N. Kartarik

The crowd stayed steady in motion for Skeme, a gruff Inglewood rapper with a barking pop sensibility that carried a full set of strong songs. The better-known "T.O." with Problem and DJ Mustard amped up the room as most people seemed to know the call and response chorus, and Skeme managed to work the crowd even when they weren't totally familiar with the material. His was a good introductory set to highlight the night's West Coast lean, taking on a range of street productions with a distinct punch. DJ Enferno returned yet again after Skeme's set, stalling as still more people began to fill the room.


Finally, when Dom Kennedy hit the stage, people were ready. The energy in the room profoundly increased with opener "Dominic," which immediately established Dom as a formidable live presence. There's a tinge of laid-back smoothness in Dom's flow on record, but live the confidence shines through to highlight a new dimension on the work.

 

The audience knew a lot of the lyrics, and he used this to his advantage by incorporating audience participation at just the right moments. The set was a well constructed mix of old and new material, shifting from the hits to songs the die-hards would appreciate. For how little Dom has played here (he said he'd only played in Minneapolis once before, "but this is way liver"), he certainly holds a devoted listener base locally

Dom Kennedy at the Cabooze, 2/3/14
Photo by Mark N. Kartarik
A subtly powerful MC with a great back catalogue, Dom's performance was a no-frills expression of microphone skills, letting the songs speak for themselves. He's great at writing bars and crafting songs, instilling complexity in tracks like "Let's Be Friends" and "Black Bentleys" while letting others like "We Ball" and "Grind'n" breathe and stand as they are.

Dom Kennedy at the Cabooze, 2/3/14
Dom Kennedy at the Cabooze, 2/3/14
Photos by Mark N. Kartarik
Closing a cappella "The Five Year Theory (Real Shit Last)" was Dom firing at all cylinders, maintaining the veneer of cool that relaxed his style while revealing the bravado that gave these lines weight. It was a small moment that sold the night, which had been thus far a string of excellent West Coast bangers told from one of the strongest voices in the game. A master of understated prowess, Dom Kennedy carried the stage and revealed himself as one of the better live rappers I've seen in recent history.

Personal Bias: I came in a less knowledgeable fan than most in the audience.

Random Notebook Dump: Dom made sure to shout out to the rappers who provide guest verses, like "We Ball" with Kendrick Lamar, "Pleeze" with Nipsey Hussle, and "Gold Alpinas" with Rick Ross.

The Crowd: Packed with enthusiastic fans.

Overheard In The Crowd: Relationship advice in bathrooms is usually pretty off-base.

Setlist:

Dominic
Let's Be Friends
17
If It Don't Make Money
Honey Buns
My Type Of Party
Girls On Stage
We Ball
When I Come Around
South Central Love
Erica Part 2
After School
Black Bentleys
Pleeze
1997
Grind'n
Gold Alpinas
CDC
The Five Year Theory (Real Shit Last)


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