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Interview: Dom Kennedy Breaks Down California's New Rap Kings

“I was a kid that bought [Ice Cube’s] “It Was A Good Day” on cassette single,” proudly beams Dom Kennedy. “I bought [Notorious BIG’s] Ready To Die four or five times in my life.” The Leimert Park, Los Angeles, California rapper is embracing his inner hip-hop geek. Kennedy, who drops his latest studio album Get Home Safely today, is talking about the inspiration behind why he continues to side-step musical trends of the day. “It really revolves around OPM, which is my crew,” he explains to VIBE. “We are more of a lifestyle clique. The music is just the soundtrack to what we do in our everyday lives. I’m original because of the history…legacy. I never want to disappoint myself. So regardless of what anybody tells me, I’ve seen West Coast hip-hop at its best. I was there.”

Continues Kennedy: “I know that you can write lyrics that actually mean something and be the star that you want to be and still be respected. If I hadn’t seen and heard those things it probably would be easier for me to fall into whatever trend that’s happening. But all that stuff fades away. [Nas’] Illmatic and [Snoop Dogg’s] Doggystyle still sound good today.”

While he’s been in the game since 2008, Kennedy—who captured the hip-hop nation’s full attention with his 2012 critically acclaimed effort Yellow Album—believes Get Home Safely represents the barebones spirit of the aforementioned landmark releases. The set exhibits the laidback MC at his most personable. “This is the most honest I’ve ever been musically,” he adds. “Nothing on Get Home Safely can be duplicated by anybody. I’m describing true situations that have happened to me in my life when I was 10 or 12-years-old. Nobody else can tell you those stories from that perspective. You just had to be there.”

But Dom Kennedy is not the only Cali artist moving hip-hop forward on his own terms. From Kendrick Lamar to Odd Future, VIBE sat down with enterprising artist and label head to breakdown the current landscape of West Coast hip-hop. Westsiiide!—Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)

Kendrick Lamar/Top Dawg Entertainment (Compton, California)

They just bring that realism back to rap. TDE is coming from a real place; a very sincere place. Kendrick brings an attention to detail to his work. He is drawing on emotions that people haven’t felt for a long time in hip-hop, which is just authenticity. That’s how rap music and hip-hop started. It needs days and times for people to feel like the music is coming from concerned minds and people that are really walking it and living it, and not just coming from the first class seat on an airplane. You are hearing real stories from Kendrick and TDE.

Nipsey Hussle (Los Angeles, California)

Nipsey is more like the streets, and I don’t want to say gang bang, but he represents that mentality. But his thing has always been coming from that life and trying to make something of yourself. I think it was great when he [sold his Crenshaw mixtape for $100]. That’s something we had talked about. It was him just making a statement like, “You know what? Nobody is forcing y’all to do anything.” Obviously we know that as soon as one person gets the CD they are going to put it up online, but if it’s quality and if you support it you understand that whatever you want to hear and see out of an artist, all that shit cost money. So if you want to see Nipsey Hussle come back and do something even better than he is doing now—his fans like me—I’m on the tape and I still bought it. I have seven Nipsey Hussle tapes that I’ve never paid for. Because I’m a fan of Nipsey.

Odd Future (Los Angeles, California)

People just represent different things and are being brutally honest and true to that. That’s what it really comes down to with Odd Future. I’ve been around Tyler and them. My studio is on Fairfax where their store is at and where they hang out at. I’ve seen them and known them for years now before they did their thing. I knew them when some of them were just working in stores on Fairfax. What they represent and the way they move is completely authentic to how they are in real life. I think that no compromise attitude that Odd Future has is great. Everybody has found a core fanbase in LA to sustain what it is they truly want to represent, and not be afraid to be like, “You know what? I got enough fans to where we can get through this door. I got enough fans where I can be this person and not have to water it down.” That’s Tyler and Odd Future.

YG (Compton, California)

YG is the like O-Dog from Menace II Society [laughs]. He represents the young, do-it-first-and-worry-about-it-later mentality. And that’s authentic to LA to what I know and definitely to Compton. That’s why YG is who he is because the kids identify with that. YG is part of that giving back and sharing stories that are maps to people’s lives. These are young adults that are making music that’s real and at times extreme.

Problem (Compton, California)

Problem’s overall hustle is nonstop. I feel like everybody brings something unique to the table. But Problem came in and just reclaimed his position. He had been around for a while. He’s that missing link in our culture. He’s street, but with a different point of view. Everybody is not going to go the same way as a Dom Kennedy and make a certain song. People definitely are not going to be as artistic as Kendrick. Like I said, we all bring something special to the table. I think the West Coast is everything now.

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Watch The Moment T.I. Learns He’s Going To Be A Grandfather

Congratulations are in order for T.I.’s stepdaughter, Zonnique. The singer is expecting her first child with boyfriend and rapper, Bandhunta Izzy (a.k.a Isreal James).

Zonnique, who will be welcoming a daughter with Izzy, surprised Tip with the baby news during an episode of her Fox Soul show The Mix on Wednesday (Aug. 6).

Needless to say, Tip was shocked. So much so, that it took him a minute to actually process the announcement, even after his wife, Tiny, confirmed that they weren’t pranking him.

Zonnique broke the pregnancy news to PEOPLE earlier in the week, and opened up about the drawbacks of being pregnant during a pandemic.  “It really sucks being pregnant during the coronavirus,” she admitted. “At first, I'm like, 'This is the perfect time, like everybody is locked in. I don't have to worry about going out. So if I want to hide it for however long, I can hide.'

“But when it comes to going to doctor's appointments, I go to all of them by myself. I ask every single time, 'Can I bring my boyfriend?' And they're like, 'No, only you can come.' That's been the worst part," she added.

“I'm hoping by the time I'm ready to have the baby it will be over with. But I'm sure it won't be, so I'll be in there with one person, most likely. I'm just trying not to get my hopes too high anymore.”

Peep the video below to see Tip's hilarious reaction to learning that he's going to be a grandfather.

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Grammy-Winning Producer Detail Arrested On Sexual Assault Charges

Detail, the Grammy-winning producer behind hits for Drake, Beyonce, Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, and more, was arrested on a slew of sexual assault charges on Wednesday (Aug. 5). According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department, Detail was slapped with 15 sexual assault charges and five additional felony assault related charges, stemming from alleged incidents that occurred between 2010 and 2018.

LASD’s Special Victims Bureau investigated the allegations and submitted the case to the L.A. County D.A. for review in January. The D.A. notified the SVB of the charges against Detail on July 31. An arrest warrant was issued with a bail amount of $6,290,000.

Details has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple artists including Tinashe, Jessie Reyes, and Bebe Rexha. In 2019, Detail lost a $15 million lawsuit brought on by recording artist, Kristin Buch, who claimed that he raped her repeatedly. At least two of his former assistants also filed lawsuits, and another up-and-coming singer, Peyton Ackley, filed a restraining order against him.

The Detroit native, whose birth name is Noel Fisher, won a Grammy in 2015 for “Drunk and Love,” and received two nominations for working on Beyonce’s self titled album and producing Khalifa’s single, “We Dem Boyz.”

Based on the “nature of the allegations,” detectives believe that there may be additional victims. Read the LASD's full announcement below.

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Woman Files Lawsuit Accusing Takeoff Of Raping Her At L.A. Party

Migos rapper Takeoff is being sued by a woman who claims he raped her at a party in Los Angeles in June. The unnamed woman, identified as “Jane Doe,” accuses the rapper of sexual battery, assault, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, gender violence, and civil rights violations.

According the legal documents, the woman says that she arrived at the party in question on June 22, at around 7:00 p.m. She was invited by a friend identified as Daryl “Durel” McPherson. Offset arrived at the party “some time later,” the documents state.

“Several times through the evening, Plaintiff noticed Defendant Takeoff staring at her, which made Plaintiff fell extremely uncomfortable,” the complaint reads. “Later that evening, Defendant Takeoff began talks to Plaintiff and offered her marijuana. Plaintiff felt uncomfortable and left the conversation.”

The legal docs go on to state that the woman approached Durel and informed him that Takeoff was making her uncomfortable and that she had “no desire to engage in any sort of intimate relationship” with him.

Takeoff allegedly walked up the stairs while the two were talking and got into an argument with Durel, at which point the woman “continued upstairs alone while Defendant Takeoff continued to argue with Durel.”

The woman went into Durel’s room and laid on the bed. She claims Offset came in after her and began rubbing her buttocks. “Plaintiff clearly and unequivocally refused Defendant Takeoff’s advances and stated to Defendant Takeoff that she did not want to have sex with him.”

The woman alleges that Takeoff ignored her refusals, grabbed and flipped her over face down, pulled down her clothing and proceeded to penetrate her from behind without consent. “After Defendant Takeoff finished raping Plaintiff, he immediately left the room,” the suit claims. “After recovering from the initial shock of what had transpired, Plaintiff promptly walked out of the bedroom and immediately left.”

The suit also notes that the accuser sought medical care at local hospital the same day as the assault. Hospital staff “observed physical evidence of forceful rape and notified the Los Angeles Police of the same.”

The LAPD reportedly confirmed an investigation, but according to  Rolling Stone, the woman’s lawyer “lost confidence” in the investigation and subsequently filed a civil lawsuit.

Takeoff has yet to comment on the allegations.

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