Pray for Dom Kennedy. His new mixtape Best After Bobby Two is getting a verbal whipping from disappointed fans, with the popular joke being that it’s the worst thing to happen to L.A. since Magic got HIV. Just the severity of the joke lets you know how butthurt people are:
But didn’t they see this coming?
The fandom for Dom Kennedy and his wholly uninspiring tapes, like the much-exalted, utterly vacuous Yellow Tape, has mystified me for years now. He has become the go-to summertime rapper, but few people have cared to unpack what that means. A summertime rapper makes music people want to play by the pool or as a soundtrack for a BBQ. In essence, a summertime rapper isn’t listened to very closely. They make background music with production good enough to dance to and lyrics fluffy enough to not impose on the party. The quintessential quality of a summertime rapper, after precise beat selection, is to be ignorable. Dom Kennedy’s steadily diminishing buzz is the result of riding a wave of backhanded compliments.
In fact, his success, along with that of fellow Cali rapper YG, is perhaps indicative of the unspoken truth most rap fans don’t want to admit: it’s more about the beats than the rhymes. If a song has dope production, chances are you’re gonna enjoy it, regardless of how nice the raps are. But even the nicest rappers on earth will be ignored if their beats aren’t right. Just ask Nas.
With Dom’s new tape, the chickenheads have come home to roost. They say the tape feels lazy, as if that thrown-together vibe wasn’t a selling point for his music just a couple years ago. Every song is a beat jack, except for that awful track from the Nike commercial. No wonder people are upset: there aren’t any new beats to enjoy. Fans have relegated Dom to background noise. Why blame him for serving his fanbase?