Gang violence was a topic of many rhymes in the early 90’s. It was always generic though, the MC’s themselves were very careful when talking about what set they were affiliated with. That changed with the album, 1993’s Bangin On Wax. The Bloods & Crips got together and put one of the most murderous albums in existence. The only topic on their 3 albums was eliminating their enemies. The funk infused soundtrack made the murder raps enjoyable. Long Beach representer, Domino, then known as Genuine Draft, was affiliated with the crips and jumped on their first album. He came out swinging with some aggressive rhymes on the first verse on the title track . His rhymes were scattered throughout the entire album.
Bloods & Crips – Bangin’ On Wax
Domino left after their first album and wound up on Def Jam records, home to some of the biggest titans in hip hop at that time. He was the first west coast artist on the label. Domino’s eventual success here no doubt opened the door for some behemoths like Warren G and Montell Jordan. References to Crips were shed and Domino introduced something fresh at the time; a new melodic sing songy flow. Imagine a hybrid of Nelly, Nate Dogg and Snoop. Domino hit a grand slam his first time at bat. The first single was one of the biggest of the 90’s decade. Regardless of what coast you enjoyed, the country was enamored with “Getto Jam”. This rookie has his first single reach #7 on the billboard music charts.
Domino – Getto Jam
The rest of the album was only 9 other songs and shared this same vibe. Extremely funky beats courtesy of legendary DJ Battlecat and melodic smooth rhymes about partying and getting money were the main topics throughout the album. His second single, “Sweet Potato Pie,” is one of my favorite jams of all time. The slowed down SOS Band sample is hypnotizing while Domino spits his game, then croons on the hook. And the music video is on my top 10 videos. The tender roni in the green dress and the beauty in the brown dress have visited me in my dreams since I was a teenager with the song in my walkman. This is 90’s nostalgia at its finest.
Domino – Sweet Potato Pie
Tales From The Hood
Domino’s debut was certified gold in 1995 and he showed no signs of slowing down. He released the single, “Tales From the Hood” featuring CMW’s Chill. The vibe was the same as we have been accustomed to from him. An ultra smooth track and some melodic vocals and some rhymes scattered in. This is lovely. The cameo of Ol Dirty Bastard in the video was random but made you crack a smile.
Domino – Tales From the Hood
America is Dying Slowly
Domino appeared on the powerful compilation album, America is Dying Slowly in 1996 along with a diverse group of popular rappers from across the country, including Spice 1, Mobb Deep and Goodie Mob. “Sport That Raincoat” featured Domino as he discussed safe sex.
Domino – Sport That Raincoat
At this point, I thought he was going to explode to superstardom just like his Long Beach brethren, Snoop. Well Domino geared up for his sophomore album and released Physical Funk in 1996. His star because to lose its luster this time around. Unfortunately despite the fact there were a couple fire singles released, the album didn’t do as well as his debut.
Domino still had his same style and production from DJ Battlecat. The lead single, “Physical Funk,” was vintage Domino and even featured an awesome video. I always loved “Do You Qualify”. His message is to watch out for the ladies that misrepresent their age. There was a similar version on his debut album with the same message.
Domino – Physical Funk
The World of Dominology
Domino parted ways with Def Jam and dropped 2 more albums in the late 90’s. The World of Dominology came the following year in 1997. Domino produced a majority of the album himself and invited legendary Teena Marie to share her vocals on sex charged “Cum on Over”. The guests didn’t stop there, KiCi & Jojo lent their powerful voices on “Get Yo Money.” Rapper Frost showed up on “On Them Thangz.” This was classic Domino as he crooned and rhymed over a nice backgroup, courtesy of The Dramatics’ “In The Rain.”
Teena Marie ft Domino – COME ON OVER
Remember Me was released n 1999. The old school R&B collaborations continued o this album. He invited 80’s R&B group, Surface to update their classic jam, “Closer”. Definitely the best listen on this album.
DOMINO & SURFACE – Get Closer
D-Freaked It came in 2001. There was virtually no promotion and he had no guest stars this time around. The limited subject matter and uninspired production made for a boring listen. A few more albums were released in the mid 2000’s to little fanfare. Then Domino completely changed his image and introduced yet another moniker, OG Domino. He took his same melodic flows and hypnotizing harmonies and showcased his beliefs from a spiritual perspective.
His latest offering has no references to gang banging or sexing up the ladies. 2014’s Get It Right is 11 tracks deep and its filled with devotional rhymes. But if you think just because OG Domino is spiritual and he can no longer flow, take a listen to “Get It Right”. The rest of the album has songs like “Answer The Call” and “Proverbs Woman” which highlight an artist that had become stagnant.
OG Domino – Get It Right
So if you forgot about the man who offered us a slice of Sweet Potato Pie and forgot “Who Dat Rapper”….That’s Domino!!!!
WHO DAT RAPPER? is a weekly column featuring oft-forgotten and slept on Hip-Hop artists. Do you have a suggestion? Comment below.