In 2008, you couldn’t keep me away from 2DopeBoyz.com. I was the type to stay up until wee hours of the morning for a delayed mixtape release and then skip school the next day because I was too tired. Simply put: Meka and Shake were my ears guide to a lot of artists, especially from the West Coast. It’s not hard to miss Dom Kennedy’s charismatic flow nor the influence inner city LA has on his music. He has the ability to make every single day in LA sound like the best day of summer vacation and if I remember correctly, it was “Watermelon Sundae” off his debut, 25th Hour, which first caught my ear.
Despite releasing Get Home Safely—his sophomore LP in October, Dom is known for smooth summer soundtracks that elevate everyday events. With 6 solo mixtapes and 2 albums under his belt, he’s made quite a living off Other People’s Money (his label imprint) and many would say his first appearance in Charlotte, NC has been long overdue.
If you follow me on twitter (@its_Shae) then you might’ve seen my less than impressed remark about the crowd and the invisible stick up their asses. Yes! I know everyone came to see Leimert Park’s Finest, but opening acts are nothing new, so I couldn’t understand why people grew so impatient and close minded to new emerging sounds. I continuously must remind myself that this type of behavior isn’t just subjected to hip-hop; I heard Angélique Kidjo dealt with a similar situation at her recent show in Charlotte as well.
Opening acts are there to fill time while people shuffle in. No shame in that though, because it’s all about working your way up, gaining exposure, building audiences in different areas and putting yourself in a better position for future gigs. It’s a great opportunity, but sometimes (for whatever reason) the performance may not be reflective of the sound. First to take the stage were Charlotte, NC artists: Nevermind, Elevator Jay, Shome, and Senior collectively known as Hornet’s N.E.S.S. If you’re somewhat into the hip-hop scene here then you’ve surely heard about at least one of these individuals. If not, better late than never:
Though there were few technical difficulties, the guys kept it together the best they could. Keeping their energy alive, Banks brought out fellow Yachts member Frais for some assistance during the performance of their collaboration: Magic Johnson. Fayetteville, NC native Lotta rocked the stage for a bit until Shome re-appeared with a solo of his own, performing the Wister D!ce produced cut “Bourbon and Canal”.
Next up was DMV representative, Nike Nando. I was floored when I got word that he’d be in attendance because I’ve been a listener of Nando for quite some time (since TheCarryOut2). He commanded the crowd’s attention as soon as he stepped on stage. Drawing us in one-by-one, everyone became all ears once he began spitting an undeniable freestyle over no instrumental; just him and a few slick metaphors. After a few oohs & aahs, his self-titled track “Super Nike Nando” blasted through the speakers, which I don’t feel was the best song to perform. However, he hit the nail on the head with “World Domination” from his latest release #SPRDLV.
Not having heard Skeme’s latest album “Ingleworld”, I’m unsure as to what songs were performed and will go do my homework on the matter. I had high hopes that he would join Dom at a later time to perform “Play On”, but instead they blessed us with “If It Don’t Make Money”. With great delivery, tight production and involvement with the audience more than any of the other performers, he easily created a solid performance that I spent the whole time dancing to.
While everyone awaited the arrival of Leimert Parks Legend, DJ Ngenius kept the fresh West Coast tunes slappin’. You couldn’t help but notice the huge blue, green and red stripped OPM flag that draped over his set up. Before we knew it, it was showtime!
For a moment I started to imagine the crowd and what it might look like through the eyes of Dom Kennedy. I mean, it must be one hell of a sight to see hundreds of people packed under one roof and chanting your lyrics word for word. He opened the show the same way he opened the album, with “Let’s Be Friends”. He’s mentioned before that this was the first song he recorded for Get Home Safely and was in fact the foundation for the project. His set was around a hour long and he flew through tracks like: my type of party, south central love, still calling, gold alpinas, the crowds favorite “17”, and even went as far back as “1997” and “When I Come Around”. Would I recommend attending a Dom Kennedy show? Well, if you don’t mind all the songs being performed similar to recorded versions in a live setting or feeling detached from the whole experience then yeah, go ahead. Again, he might’ve excited the fans but I’m just a casual listener and I appreciate when a musician can give me something different than what I can experience on a CD. That being said, his performances of “Black Bentley” and an acapella rendition of “5 Yr. Theory” that wrapped up his set were the two tracks that stuck out to me the most.
Many thanks to the organizers: Nameus, MindBonics, AlexxKGray and F4mily Matters; The Fillmore and Dom himself for gracing the queen city during this tour. In a sit-down with ABlackTV, Dom even mentions Charlotte on his list of “ top 10 shows OF ALL TIME”. You check out that interview + the remainder of Get Home Safely’s tour stops after the jump:
2/25 Santa Cruz CA @ The Catalyst
2/26 Sacramento CA @ Ace of Spades
2/27 San Francisco CA @ Regency
3/1 Vancouver, Canada @ Fortune Sound Club
3/2 Seattle WA @ Showbox at the Market
3/3 Eugene, OR @ WOW Hall
3/6 Tempe, AZ @ Club Red
3/7 Tuscon, AZ @ the Rialto Theatre
3/15 Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues