Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Domo Genesis - Red Corolla Review

We may not be far enough removed from Odd Future's swift demise to understand its greater importance. At least that's my perception of what transpired, someone else could easily see the dissolution as nothing more than friends and talents growing distant. But there's something to be said about the group, and the trove of styles burgeoning underneath its namesake, that correlated perfectly to Hip-Hop's rampant globalization through the Internet. They were eccentric, idiosyncratic, and brimming with distinctive personalities. However, there's no denying certain artists, the wheat, were upholding the values of the lesser-knowns, the chaff. Domo Genesis, on the other hand, was stuck in the middle. A stoner rapper with clear talent, subjecting himself to the setbacks living that lifestyle comes equip with. Releases were too few and far between, culminating in 2016's Genesis, his debut album that failed to garner much traction without the Odd Future name in tow. Even though time may be against him, Domo's trying to right those wrongs by following up that LP with a free mixtape centered around a late night drive in a four-seat sedan. A short duration filled with skits, samples, and slang makes Red Corolla Domo's most artistic statement yet. Unfortunately the weed smoke prevents him from branching out further.

Red Corolla begins with the title track, an introduction of sorts to the style, aesthetic, and concept of the mixtape. 70's Soul samples gleam prominently throughout, shape-shifting as the tone initializes itself, much like the red Corolla that's failing to start. The concept, which factors through the various skits, works well for Domo's laid back rapping style, despite not being all that ambitious or overarching. At least he's become self-aware enough to know that he'll never be as declarative as Tyler, The Creator, as talented as Frank Ocean, or as enigmatic as Earl Sweatshirt. Displayed throughout these ten short snippets are casual showboating, surface level reflective thoughts, and worries over the future, all while content with smoking in the moment. One minute he's philosophizing over greed's dominance on the fantastic 'What It Means,' the very next he's inhaling the highs of drug consumption on 'Slow Burn.' One minute he's questioning where all the time went on '...Time Goes By,' the next he's beating up phonies with King Chip on the tongue-in-cheek 'Honestly, Just Wanna Have A Good Time.' Even within that song itself a drastic mood shift occurs, leaving a salient impression on Domo's psyche throughout Red Corolla.

The scatterbrained nature of his being comes with the territory though. What doesn't, and is pleasantly surprising, are the litany of Soul samples that power over the Boom Bap much like a Blu record when he teamed up with the Nottz, Exile, and Madlib's of the world. On 'What It Means,' Domo and producer J. Rawls flip Edgar Winter's 'Dying To Live,' a track notably sampled in 2Pac's 'Runnin,' to grave effect. On 'Honestly,' a female voice preaches about dying as the cacophonous drums give off the vibe of an 8-bit Kung-Fu showdown. On 'Long Way Home,' some psychedelic synths and percussion vibe underneath Domo's indecisiveness like a Spiritual Jazz ensemble. All these moments only possible because of Domo's decision to release Red Corolla as a free mixtape, unlike the more mainstream and straightforward Genesis. Even 'Self Doubt The Interlude' teeters on full-blown experimentalism, as excessive vocal pitch-shifting and Chopped N' Screwed bass create a paralyzing atmosphere that captures Domo in its web. Unfortunately, while the rapping may be intact, they're never detailed enough to counteract the fairly substandard lyrics. Domo's an average rapper, one who will rarely impress, but one who almost always satisfies. Red Corolla proves that that's still the case.

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