Domo Genesis – Under the Influence

Domo Genesis, Odd Future’s resident stoner, delivers the first completely original release from the controversial hip-hop collective in months, but has the west coast rapper managed to build on his previous album Rolling Papers?

Yes and no.

It’s an interesting situation when an artist has improved but the quality of his latest record doesn’t accurately reflect it.

It’s clear that Domo has matured significantly as an artist over the past year. His flow is smoother, punch lines are sharper and rhymes are tighter. However, the content is fairly limited and shallow, rarely traversing outside the subjects of weed and fame.

This lack of depth isn’t exactly new ground for the self proclaimed “Mr Smokes-Alot-of-Pot”, who favours a more laid back and pedestrian approach in comparison to his peers, making him an ideal poster boy for weed aficionados.

What really sets this album apart from Rolling Papers is the lack of unified production. For the first time, Domo features a number of producers outside of the Odd Future collective.

The departure from solely using OF beats is both a good and a bad thing for the West Coast wordsmith. Whilst the record loses the cohesive OF aesthetic of slow grinding, Neptunes-esque beats and the strong production of Tyler, Left Brain and Syd, it makes the album more accessible to those not already on the bandwagon.

Much like his Wolf Gang colleague Casey Veggies demonstrated on the recently released Sleeping in Class, Domo is straying from the OF mould and attempting to establish his own personal style, which appears to favour soul laden beats; as demonstrated by Casey and Domo’s collaboration over Scarface’s classic soul-rap Guess Who’s Back.

Another OF resident, Tyler, The Creator makes an expectedly solid appearance on Whole City Behind Us, lending his trademark baritone and intoxicating charisma to the Kanye West beat and once again, manages to chalk up a memorable guest spot on one of his peers records (see also: Couch, Supermarket, Timeless).

Unfortunately, We Major – the other Kanye West instrumental selected on the record – isn’t executed nearly as well as Whole City and proves to be a poor choice, as Domo gets buried underneath the grandiose production.

Without a doubt, Glory is the stand out track of the release, as the ethereal loop and bass heavy undertones perfectly complement Domo’s vocals and serve as a reminder to punters that the 20 year old has a bright future ahead of him if he plays his cards right.

Highlights: Glory, Boss’ Life, Whole City Behind Us, Guess Who’s Back.

Summary: Under the Influence isn’t groundbreaking, nor is it as fun and atmospheric as Rolling Papers, but that’s not the point. It signifies a change in direction for Domo and an intention to find his own feet in the rap industry. Simplicity is the name of game here and Domo delivers a straightforward, uncomplicated record that makes for some very relaxed and comfortable listening.

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