Dom Kennedy’s West Coast revival

It’s been 20 years since the “East Coast vs. West Coast” feud between rap conglomerates (and subsequently fans) on each coast. The rivalry dominated rap charts and news headlines before spilling over into the streets. It was a tense but transformative time for the genre, and after the two most notorious figures in the conflict were gunned down, things got quiet.

In the last few years, the rap collectives have been cropping up again, reinvented with a more art focused, entrepreneurial drive. From the A$AP Mob to the Beast Coast movement, New York has been governing the rap landscape.

What’s been missing is a West Coast counterpart. Sure there’s Odd Future, but their sound isn’t immediately identifiable as LA rap. South Central Black Hippie has been on a wave, since the meteoric rise of Kendrick Lamar in 2012.

That uniquely West Coast sound has shifted over from Compton to Leimert Park, as independent artist Dom Kennedy is doing his best to put his city on the proverbial map.

Dom along with Nipsey Hussle, YG and a slew of other rappers have been producing an esoteric West Coast sound, channeling the party vibes that Long Beach’s 213 left behind.

Dom has established a growing and loyal fan base, and with the release of Get Home Safely he’s commanded enough attention to be seen as a voice for LA rap – not an easy task for an independent artist. And Dom is all about LA – it’s apparent in everything he does, from his music to his clothing (a mishmash of LA sports teams).

We spoke to Dom about who he makes music for, managing his business as an independent artist, and his relationship with his DJ and beat maker  Drewbyrd.