Regardless of what you may think about the Odd Future collective, it's evident that the group is bursting at the seams with raw talent. Most of these cats have been honing their craft while waiting patiently in the wings for their time to shine. From Casey Veggies and Frank Ocean, to Earl Sweatshirt and the soulful R&B band The Internet, Odd Future has birthed some of this era's brightest stars. Unfortunately, the antics of front-man Tyler the Creator paint their image in such an awkward light that it often taints the credibility of anyone associated with the group. But make no mistake about it, Domo Genesis is one cat off this label that should absolutely be taken seriously. He has been sharpening his blades since his 2010 mixtape Rolling Papers, and has been dropping subsequent mixtape releases and collaborations nearly every year since. On March 24th, 2016, Domo hit us with his inspired solo debut studio album Genesis.
This man is the perfect example of an artist who climbed the ranks properly, and didn't waste time flooding the market with trendy radio singles in an attempt to stay afloat. Instead, Domo has been establishing a fan base his own way, while infusing the sounds of his idols into his music. He stated that he is influenced by Nas, Mobb Deep, MF Doom, and even Wiz Khalifa, all of which are evident on the LP. Genesis jumps right out the gate with its soulful groove on "One Below," which is also one of its standout tracks. It begins with a somewhat drawn-out redundant tribute narrated by his mother, whose contribution may have been more appropriate on an intro-lude. Even so, it's nothing but feel-good vibes once the song hits its stride. There's a point toward the end where the beat reaches its climax, then smoothly transitions into the next track "Wanderer." It's one of those true 'head-nod-shit-that-make-you-break-yo-neck' type moments that I found myself rewinding to often. It's also a testament to the amount of work that was put into this project, both lyrically and from a production standpoint. It shows that Genesis is no lazy effort, and the quality heard on these two songs are maintained throughout the majority of the 12-track album.
If there are any major missteps on Genesis, it's the tracks that are reminiscent of that dark weirdo Tyler shit that I can't stand. "Questions" isn't a terrible song lyrically, but the production just makes my fucking skin crawl. The other throwaway track is the heavily featured "Go (Gas)." The song features Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J, and Tyler the Creator himself. So naturally, the song sounds like it was ripped straight off one of Tyler's early albums. Shit is wack as fuck. It's almost as if Domo felt the need to include an obligatory OFWGKTA type track just to rep the squad. I just personally don't agree with the decision. It's unnecessary, and more than anything, these songs interrupt the flow of an otherwise fantastic album.
Luckily these minor speed bumps don't ruin the listenability of Genesis as a whole. Things immediately pick back up with the final six tracks, which display the same creativety found on the first half of the album. "Coming Back" ft. Mac Miller, his lead single "Dapper" ft. Anderson.Paak, and "Brotha" are all bangers. Even songs like "All Night" which teeter on the edge of cookie-cut at times, still rock due to how he takes the eerily simplistic beat and destroys it. There were several times throughout Genesis where I sat back and thought to myself, "Why am I JUST now hearing about this cat?"
Domo Genesis is fairly gifted with his flow and delivery, which is a breath of fresh air amidst his contemporaries. Even though this is technically his first legit album, this man is no rookie to the game. He has an understanding of what great music should sound like without resorting to any established comfort zone, and I believe that type of approach is what the game needs moving forward. Genesis is an excellent example of how to remain creative in a landscape where it may not be as cool to do so anymore, while at the same time producing a body of work that has the potential to be timeless.