Dom Kennedy – ‘Yellow Album’ | Mixtape Review

In what was surely an introspective effort, the Yellow Album gave longtime Dom Kennedy supporters something quite different from the usual summer-released, Westside, Impala-riding music. In contrast to From the Westside with Love II, the Yellow Album utilized more synthesizers. 2011 summer classins like “Grind’n” and “O.P.M.” were replaced by spacey club cuts like “My Type of Party” and “Gold Alpinas.”

The product of a DJ Quik-inspired beginning, Dom Kennedy strays slightly from the Westside legend in this effort. While almost all production was taken over by someone other than those behind the boards of a traditional Dom record, what was familiar was his collaboration with Fly Union on track 2, “Been Thuggin.’” In the subsequent track, Dom spends little time in bringing out the big guns. “We Ball” features TDE frontman Kendrick Lamar and is produced by the heavily-buzzed Chase N Cashe. The track makes nice utilization of the keyboard and features Dom’s trademark playa-type attitude. The aforementioned “My Type of Party” follows and is probably the antithesis of Dom’s usual album headliner, giving the listener a synthesized and almost Chopped and Screwed version of Dom Kennedy. It takes one right to back of the club in a V.I.P. section with women, smoke and Henny aplenty.

“Don’t Call Me” is one of four tracks produced by THC and features Too $hort. Similar to much of the album, the cut is best explained by the opening interlude from Too $hort: “I know you think I’m lyin’ baby but I’m really workin.’ I’m up all night in the studio and I’ll be home soon. Ain’t no bitches here just the homies baby… Yeah right.” Once again the listener is taken into the party lifestyle of the Lemairt Park native and Dom’s carefree attitude shines through.

Dom’s Rick Ross collaboration “Gold Alpinas” is the Yellow Album‘s “ridin’” song. It isn’t just Ross that takes one straight to South Beach, it’s the smooth instrumentals accompanied by the track’s laid-back style. The final standout is “Hangin’,” which, in contrast to the rest of the album, has a faster tempo chaperoned by impressive verses by both Dom and CTE’s Freddie Gibbs.

Despite its strengths, there are two aspects that somewhat hold the project back.

Timing is one of the Yellow Album’s biggest shortfalls. With what was perceived as a delay in the album’s release, its early summer drop time doesn’t match its content. The introspective mood matched by synthy beats hurts the chances of it making your summertime barbecue playlist.

Another aspect is Dom’s delivery. While the album’s instrumentals make an excuse for his more relaxed conveyance, it shouldn’t make up for a lack of enthusiasm. Dom’s lyrics too often get lazy and are less crisp than predecessors Westside I and II made us used to hearing.

Overall, the Yellow Album shows Dom’s growth as an artist. In a short time and for better or for worse, Dom Kennedy has evolved greatly from FutureStreet/Drug Sounds. With the long-awaited follow-up to Westside II, Dom dishes out another work that’ll have the pure Westies a little irritated but everyone else bumping it for months to come.