First Thoughts: Domo Genesis’ Solo Star Power Aligns On ‘Genesis’

Album Reviews

Between Zayn Malik’s highly-anticipated first project since parting ways with One Direction, Father’s awfully blunt I’m a Piece of Sh*t, K. Michelle’s drama-filled More Issues Than Vogue and Young Thug’s Slime Season 3 surprise release, there was plenty of music to be consumed with once the clock struck midnight last night (March 25). But the most apparent drop that deserved to be spun first was Domo Genesis’ Genesis. I mean, we did wait six years for this.

The 25-year-old Inglewood, Calif. native’s official debut album seems well overdue, but in the musical landscape of here-today-gone-tomorrow, it’s right on time. Especially for the former Odd Future group member, who at 19 decided to test drive a solo career, but also humbly comprehended the fact that “had to hone [his] skills.” In that same transformation and trek from comrade of a collective with shock-value rhymes and teenage rebellion appeal, he constructed a work ethic and productivity consistent in the form of consecutive mixtapes and collaborative projects—Rolling Papers (2010), Under the Influence (2011), No Idols (2012), MellowHigh (2013) and Under the Influence 2 (2014)—all while sorting through a jambalaya of influences like MF DOOM, Nas, Wiz Khalifa and Mobb Deep, trying to spoon out a sound of his own.

But after years worth of unoriginal and clichéd Tyler, The Creator and Earl Sweatshirt comparisons, which mostly nitpicked him being outshined lyrically and personality-wise by the dominant OF crew members, we witness first hand the glo’ up of the rapper born Dominique Marquis Cole, who was once deemed as “no star” with “minimal tracks about smoke.

On Genesis, the stars perfectly align for the rapper known for his hazy, laissez-faire delivery: better beats and even better lyrics . It’s just the right amount of hallucinatory, relishable and introspective vibes. There’s a more personal touch that his other efforts lacked. For example, the spacey yet soulful “Awkward Groove” kicks off the 12-track LP, setting a distinct tone of certainty (“Look at me now, I got knowledge for every dollar made/ Look at me now, I ain’t scared of none of my flaws/ I got ‘em shook of me now/So if you ever had a doubt, it shouldn’t be now/Nah”) and uncertainty (“I’m looking for my destiny/Take me on a blind date”) that grounds the album as its narrative.

As the album progresses, Genesis offers an intense spiritual sound-byte that oozes of god speed in the form of motherly advice (“One Below”), explores love’s sweet, sometimes sour drawl that can leave one “Faded in the Moment,” amongst pensive ain’t sh*t funny flows (“My Own”) and a colorful, body-rocking R&B ambiance accompanied by the genre’s new breakout star Anderson .Paak (“Dapper” has great mainstream appeal sans the sell-out fluff). And then, of course, there’s the expected all-star team collaboration in the form of “Go (Gas)” featuring Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J and Tyler, The Creator, momentarily bringing Genesis’ familiar brash and braggadocios banter on weed smoke, b**ches and drank back to the forefront.

Amidst Genesis’ sharper, substance-filled wordplay (you can tell he’s been putting in work), the Arizona State University dropout reiterates the tough yet eventually fulfilling journey we call life on the closing track, “Lost and Found.” “If I’m not chasing no, dreams how can I exist?/I’m just trying to find my way,” he raps.

Until today, Genesis’ understated mission has felt more like a riddle than a clear cut blueprint to what to his career would mature into. But after one full listen, it’s apparent that just as one hopes the stars align in their lives—and in this case Domo’s ambition to find his footing in the rap game—Genesis is the silver lining for the self-proclaimed “regular sized giant” and ” quiet storm,” whose unwavering not yet jaded pursuit of solo stardom just proved naysayers and everyone lost in the sauce all these years wrong.