The hype around “Yellow Album” actually surprised me. Just hours before it dropped, the underground LA rapper Dom Kennedy had everyone in Twitter land catching the yellow fever. The hashtag #YellowAlbum dominated my timeline and also became one of the top trending topics. I think Dom may be heading for mainstream sooner than later.
Kennedy comes out the gate with the smooth track “So Elastic”. He picks up the pace a little more with “Been Thuggin”. The beat is produced by Fly Union and is one of the best, production wise, on the album. Kennedy goes in, for lack of a better phrase, on this song. The whole first verse is worth mentioning: “I’m in the game to win somethin’/She didn’t wanna roll with me until she seen her friend comin’/Bought the BMW, you know I got the Benz coming/Broke niggas always in the club but never spend nothin’/These broke hoes always talking ’bout you should spend somethin’/Got my first kiss in ’89, yea I been thuggin’/Tryna write a song everyday cause the rent comin’/Kids see my car and they think it’s 50 Cent comin.” Dope.
“We Ball” features Kendrick Lamar. This song is straight bringing that laid back, lackadaisical vibe that is so signature of LA. The city is where both rappers call home. Dom brings it especially with lines like, “Another Rollie/A better watch/I get a plane/and then a yacht/And my haters let ‘em watch.” However, Kendrick Lamar brings it much harder. He comes in soft at first and then he blazes on the track: “Okay I’m doing 105 on 105/Witnesses had said they seen a ball of fire/I’m trying to president at Jive while you trying to jive/All these presidents, won’t be surprised if one came alive.”
“Don’t Call Me” featuring legendary rapper Too $hort has an old school ‘90s hip hop vibe. It’s an ode to something that every rapper must do to be successful-being in the studio all night grinding with no distractions. ”She told me that she in love/Just like a princess she wanna end up/But I’m trying to get my wins up.” Dom doesn’t have time for love. He’s too busy trying to make it. Word.
“5.0 Conversations” is by far the most creative song on the album. Although it is one song, it is broken down into two distinct parts. Part one has a bit of a chopped and screwed beat and Dom releases the bars: “I got yellow bones/This the yellow album/rocking yellow stones/OPM is the new Rockafella homes/My niggas in D.C. be rocking hella foams/I get my grind on in different time zones/Man counting all this money got my mind gone.” Part two opens up with Dom talking on the track like he is a radio DJ. “Ok callers we’re going to go ahead and open up these phone lines I need y’all to call in and let me know what y’all want to hear tonight.” I thought that was an engaging thing to do.
I am a sucker for any song that has an Aaliyah sample and the Drewbyrd produced track “Gold Alpinas” uses one. After every line that Dom spits Aaliyah sings “Yea yea yea”. It’s so addictive. “We headed to the top with this/I told her baby give my watch a kiss/You know it ain’t no stopping this/I’m feeling like Tupac on this.” The song features the boss Rick Ross.
“PG Click” is another two part song like “5.0 Conversations”. But unlike “5.0”, I could have done without part one of this song. The articulation of the chorus is just plain well…irritating. And the feature from rapper Niko G4 didn’t really add anything of substance. Although he delivers lines of little importance (he pretty much says “Honies and Money” the whole time), part two saves the day with something that could save just about any song-a Biggie sample.
“Lately” is my favorite song on the whole album. It has a feel good type of vibe. After listening to this song, I fell like I know so much more about the man behind the music. He talks about his family and his life experiences. Not to mention, Troy Noka killed this beat. And Dom absolutely blows me away with his one-word delivery on this song. It’s pretty much flawless. Sometimes when rappers do this, it symbolizes a lack of vocabulary and creativity (think Soulja Boy) but with Dom less is really more. “In/Us/We/Trust/Hoes/Down/G’s/Up/Spend/Money/Re/Up/School/Days/Free/Lunch/Never/Quit/Keep/Up…” And then he repeats it. Love.
Some of the most forgettable songs on the album are “My Type of Party”, “Hangin” and “Girls on Stage”. He delivers lackluster rhymes on each song however one gem is uncovered on “Girls on Stage.” “Red leather jacket/Girl call me Michael Jackson/Money we be spending and money we be stacking/Gon’ put up all these Franklins and we gon’ spend these Jacksons.” That line is cold.
On “1:25” Dom reveals what he wants his career to be: “A lot people have big plans/I’m just the one that stuck to it/Nigga trying to drive what Baby driving/I’m tryna to do what Puff doing.” And then he lets out a laugh. Clearly Dom has bigger things in mind.
“P+H” which stands for peace and happiness. “I use to wonder when my turn would come/Now I wonder will I ever quit?” And then he concludes the track with one of the most impressive lyrics of the whole album: “I could count a million one in cash/And still I’d give all I had.” Dom is saying even when he does start making millions he’s still going to give this rap thing all he’s got. You gotta respect that.
As the album came to close, I wondered to myself “Why he would name it the “Yellow Album”? One definition for the word yellow is “denoting a warning of danger that is thought to be near but not actually imminent.” In Dom’s case, yellow is more than just a color. He is giving other rappers an advisory warning that he is coming and he is not to be taken lightly.
Best songs: “We Ball”, “Lately”, “5.0 Conversations” , “Gold Alpinas” and “Been Thuggin”
Worst song: “Hangin”