Everything you read about Domo Genesis will refer to him as Odd Future’s resident weed head. This is how it goes when you title your debut, “Rolling Papers” and arrive to interviews with eyes the color of Coke cans. He capsized his own existence in six words: smoking weed, fucking bitches, eating cereal. Not every 20-year old wants to be Nas. Thankfully. In person, Domo’s almost identical to his sonic image. Sleepy eyes, slow speech, quick wit. A fitted cap with a towel splayed underneath to soak up the smoke. Blessed with a stoner’s affability but no apathy. He is the ostensibly oblivious one, who smokes spliffs at the edge of the party but is fully cognizant of everything around him.
At one point, he smokes bowls next to the jungle gym at Pan-Pacific Park. At another, Tyler taunts him with fat cracks. “You get no bitches,” he snaps back like in “Super Market” continuing to text an American Apparel model. “To be fair, I didn’t know she was when I met her.” He vows that on the next record he won’t be a one-issue candidate and I believe him. He rides for Slick Rick, The Pharcyde and Wu-Tang, alongside Eminem, Flocka, Curren$y, and Wiz, Hates Drake. Smokes strong weed and handles his narcotics with a grifter’s cool. Laid-back raps like a cross between Smoke DZA and Chuck Inglish. Good people.
Where did you come up with the name Domo Genesis (ed. note: this is before I realized his real name was Dominique]
I actually had a different rap name before.
What was your rap name before?
I’m not gonna say. I didn’t like that name before and changed it up drastic and I came across the word Genesis and that comes from the beginning. And for me it was a new beginning of a new me. Also Sega Genesis is my favorite game system.. that was my shit! When I first played Sonic I was like “this is amazing!”
It’s all about Joe Montana Sports Talk Football.
That game was tight. I played a ton of Batman too.
What part of LA did you grow up in?
Everyone thought I grew up in Hawthorne, but I didn’t. I grew up all around LA, in Inglewood for a while, other spots.
Where did you go to High School?
Is that where you met Tyler?
I had heard about him from someone who was riding his dick. Dude was like, ‘Tyler this, Tyler that.’ I was like fuck this guy at first, but he ended up being real cool.
Was he pretty well known locally in the high schools.
Yeah, A lot of people knew him locally, not like how it is now, but they knew that Tyler was doing music. It was kind of weird. He didn’t know that I did music even though I knew that he did music. He didn’t know until we had a conversation about it. This was in 11th grade in 2008. One day he needed a ride home from school, and he lived down the street. I knew a couple people who knew him, so I gave him a ride. He told me he was rapping. I spit him a verse, and that was about the time we recorded “Pigs Fly.”
Odd Future already existed at that point, yeah?
Yeah, it was already Hodgy and Left and Tyler. They started in 06, Earl started 09.
When did you start rapping?
I was writing in raps in the third grade. I wanted to write a club banger to be the next Lil Romeo or Lil Bow Wow until I got old enough to realize how lame that was.
It seemed like for a long time there weren’t very many rappers under 21 getting deals. When I was 12 or 13, there were groups like Illegal, Da Youngstas, Wholiganz, Young Black Teenagers, and guys like Shyheim, all getting major label deals.
I don’t know why that happened. I feel rap got a little older or the people in it grew up and there were no new faces to replace them. It’s time for a shift, it’s a good time for hip hop right now.
It feels like you guys are going to be a group that influences a lot of younger kids. And it’s a good thing because somebody needed to be the anti-Drake. I actually Tweeted once that you can’t really like Drake and Odd Future. You have to choose one.
That’s so true. There’s like no middle ground. It’s either like soft and hard core. It’s like polar opposites. I mean you can like both obviously, but it’s sort of the opposite of what we’re about. We might all have different tastes in music in OF, but we come together as one — different genres, similar sound.
Who were your favorite rappers when you were growing up?
I gotta say Kanye West. I remember when I first saw this MTV news special, where they were like, ‘rapper crashes his car and then they showed ‘Through the Wire.’ This was at a time when everyone was a thug, and I wasn’t a thug obviously, so I could totally relate to that. It helped formed me. I’d been writing some BS before that in my opinion.
What do you think it is about Odd Future that allowed you guys to be so advanced musically for your ages?
Kids of our generation are a lot mentally older than in the previous ones. We grew up faster, everything was always given to us via the Internet.
Were you always into computers?
Yeah, I was actually studying graphic design at ASU. I just wanted to do design graphics for companies and get paid for it — those guys get paid a lot. But music was where my heart was. I would’ve been cool with graphic design, but my heart was always in music. I’d be in school taking notes and I’d start writing a verse without even thinking about it.
You were out there when Rolling Papers dropped, right?
Yup, that was sort of what pushed the boiling pot over. No one really knew me before Rolling Papers. I was that kid standing around just kicking it. I didn’t really have too many friends in High School. I wasn’t too social.
But you played football right?
I didn’t play that long. I gave it up for weed after 9th grade. I mean was kicking it with Tyler and a few other people. I had friends at Chester, but not like a crazy amount.
When you were at ASU, were people in your dorm starting to check for your music? I mean college kids read blogs.
Not at first, but then slowly, they’d be like I heard your raps, those are good. Then one day, I was walking down the dorm hall and I heard my music from one of the room, and I was like, ‘oh shit, that’s me.’ I was kind of tripping.
By the end, were people treating you differently at school?
It really wasn’t until I left when they realized it. They were like, ‘Damn he’s really doing it.’ They’d give me props though before that.
What was the final straw that made you leave school?
There were just a lot of shows that started to hit and I needed to be at them. Shit got real, and I knew that this is what I wanted to do, so I had to do it.
Were your parents cool with it?
My mom was — that’s all I have. I mean she really wants me in school, but she’s like, ‘I can’t hold you back from your dreams. So she just let me do it. She’s been really happy about everything since.
Last time I saw you guys was before your East Coast tour and before the media hype got really really intense with TV and everything. The dynamic between you guys doesn’t seem to have changed much at all though.
We won’t change. The people around us change though. You know, there’s people who want to hang out with us now that never wanted to hang out before. Girls come back around, etc.
Yeah, the attention’s gotten pretty ridiculous. I’ve read more bad thinkpieces on you guys than any group ever in your first four months of fame.
I like to read the reviews, but it’s a love hate thing. I feel I don’t want all of that noise to get in my head. But yeah, I’ve seen some bad shit. Reporters want something to write about and they want to attack. Whatever, we’re built for it, just bring it.
What do you think personally about the people who say that it’s all for shock value?
We don’t directly aim for shock value. It’s things that we’re attracted to and laugh about. There are certain things that we find entertaining that other people might not find entertaining. We rap about them. We’re not just trying to directly shock people. People think we get on the beats and have to rap about something gruesome, or shit that’s irritating to people’s ears, just so that people will like it. That’s not what we’re aiming to do at all. We’re just being us.
Do you think it’s important to touch a nerve? It feels like rap got very safe.
It’s funny to to touch people’s nerves. People aren’t used to that and when that happens people are like “whoa.”