A Quasi-Review of the Koreatown Oddity’s Excellent Little Dominique’s Nosebleed, As Told Through Various Car Accidents That Would Change the Course of My Life

Will Hagle explores the Los Angeles rapper's latest opus through a series of accidents.
By    July 29, 2020

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This isn’t a car crash but it feels like one. A friend has been posting on social media. Zuckerberg tells me when he does, because I am likely to engage. Triggered, or whatever a better word for that emotion might be. He is posting about how he has not and never will wear a mask. In a fruitless response to a pointless argument, he writes, missing the point, that you’re much more likely to die in traffic than die from the virus. As if driving without an airbag or a bumper is a middle finger to the government.

Driving on the roads in America is not analogous to mitigating covid-19, but the statistics are, admittedly, also grim. Getting from place to place inside a speeding mass of metal is a privilege, but also a consistent form of subtle collective trauma. You could die at any moment due to the errors of yourself or others. 

At a time when America is dealing with more obvious and consequential forms of collective trauma, and artists are releasing of-the-moment songs for TikTok-ing in your socially-distanced mansion or masking up as life goes on, the Koreatown Oddity released a long, complex album with a consistent theme about a specific topic: car accidents. The most coherent and introspective version of Koreatown Oddity reveals itself across Little Dominque’s Nosebleed, a deep, nostalgic album for a strange time, punctual because of its timelessness. 

The cover of the album–released via Stones Throw–reads: “When I was a little kid, I was in two serious car accidents that would change the rest of my life.” When I saw it in Apple Music, Tim Cook compelled me to click. As the Koreatown Oddity says on the 6-min 7-second “Attention Challenge,” a funny song with a long roster of contributors and a ‘Black Google’ sketch interlude: “no matter what, keep being thirsty for attention.” Little Dominique’s Nosebleed has mine.


Once upon a time in Los Angeles, Koreatown Oddity was in a white Nissan with his mom. A car U-turned into them. He broke his nose. That’s the first car accident that the rapper references, on “Little Dominique’s Nosebleed Part 1.” It changed the course of my life because it’s the best Koreatown Oddity song on the best Koreatown Oddity album since he and Ras G’s second 5 Chuckles LP: In the wrld.

Little Dominique’s Nosebleed has frenzied beats, absurdist digressions, and a wide variance of sampled styles. Despite the relatively strict adherence to the theme, the mood and tempos shift dramatically. But the album is accessible to listeners that might not appreciate Koreatown Oddity’s older, odder songs. In a uniquely vague, cryptic way, this feels like Koreatown Oddity’s first ever cohesive introduction: a certain statement of self, delivered into a world of uncertainty. 

We’ve known he’s funny and weird, and on this album he’s still both, but we also get a better sense of who he is, who he was, and why.


Once upon a time in Champaign. Little Squid Hagle in the car with his mom. In her belly. Not conscious, but alive by Kanye’s standard. T-boned by a car running a red light. Details unclear to Squid, delivered only through a picture of the crumpled red van and family legends about his umbilical cord, twisted in a knot upon birth. Perhaps the first instance in a string of events that would lead him to feel as if he were moving through the type of “detached corridor” that Koreatown Oddity references. That is my origin story.

“Kimchi” is the Koreatown Oddity’s own autobiographical origin story. The setting is vivid. After mocking reporters on an earlier track for quizzing him about his favorite kbbq spots, he addresses the issue head on. He describes his upbringing, expressing his frustration for others’ misconceptions of his name and neighborhood. Punctuates it all with a perfect callback: “People say if you move are you gonna change your name? Well it ain’t as simple as that, so let me explain. I shed blood, sweat, and tears on the sidewalk and streets, so a bitch can’t tell me life ain’t that deep.”


“Little Dominique’s Nosebleed Pt. 2.” The best beat on the album. Spastic. Koreatown Oddity rapping about going out for neapolitan ice cream. Stepping into traffic. Getting hit by a car and breaking his leg. A peaceful descent into a 90s game show-style saxophone sample, then a new beat, and a new chorus to break the tension: “A bitch once told me life ain’t that deep. I think I’m gonna have to agree to disagree.


Once upon a time in Los Angeles. Big Squid on the way home from his Big Little Job. Washington and Hauser. At the red light. Pathetically, listening to his own music. A crash. Not a cymbal. A thud. Not an 808. The seatbelt catching his body from flying through the windshield, like a mask stopping droplets from flying through open mouths. A white truck speeding off into the intersection, colliding with another car, and then another, using moving vehicles as a stopping mechanism in lieu of any working brakes. Thankfully, no one seriously injured. No broken noses. No broken legs. None of the other terrible consequences of cars colliding. Just the mental implications. Only a totaled car, and a recurrent spike in anxiety when sitting at that same stoplight. 

This isn’t the only time I’ve been in an accident. There are a few others. One of which may have involved me rear ending tourists in a rental car while dunking chicken nuggets into sweet and sour sauce, hungover. But, in the same way that Little Dominique’s two crashes imprinted themselves onto the psyche of the man that would become the Koreatown Oddity, this one re-emphasized with battering force the unpredictable randomness of life and death.

Little Dominique grew up on St. Andrews and 5th Street, miles and worlds away from Washington and Hauser. Decades ago, too. Where Robert F. Kennedy got shot. Where his mother gave him an education on the color of his clothes, and made sure he remained skeptical of everyone, in a uniform or not. Koreatown Oddity will tell you all about it, on Little Dominique’s Nosebleed, and he’ll do it in a way that’s more interesting and dramatic than the relatively lame crashes I just told you about. 

The point of my personal aside is that auto accidents, whether fatal or not, affect us in ways that we don’t always consciously acknowledge. Koreatown Oddity has examined two such crashes across nearly an hour of personally revealing and funny music. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s not that deep.

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