With From the Westside with Love II hot off the digital shelf and still fresh on the iPods of the Hip Hop world, Dom Kennedy continues to make his climb up the independent ladder. Garnering considerable success on iTunes in particular, receiving a top 10 spot on Hip Hop/Rap albums chart during its release week, Dom Kennedy’s debut LP is just another example of independent dreams coming to fruition.
Dom and peers Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller, and Odd Future are just some who have found that control over their music doesn’t cost as much as it used to and with an independent game that is booming, they might just tell majors to keep the change. While much of the credit goes to the independent labels and a fan base that is beginning to change its taste in Hip Hop music, much of the blame can be given to the major labels that aren’t ponying up and paying the fresh new talent on the scene. In an exclusive interview with HipHopDX, Dom Kennedy explains why independents have the upper hand and what the major labels are going to have to do to sign the hottest names in Hip Hop.
HipHopDX: You’re on an independent label, as are Fly Union and a lot of other guys in Hip Hop like Mac Miller, Kendrick Lamar, who’s also West Coast like you. Where do you see the independent movement going?
Dom Kennedy: I think independent is just going to take over first and foremost. I think eventually the big labels are going to have to break down and do what they don’t want to do and just come up with a lot of money because either what’s going to happen is they’re going to have to make a lot of money for themselves independently or the labels is going to want to get in business with them. But it’s going to cost so much because all the groundwork and all the fans that they already bring to the table so, you know, it’s just the inevitable; just young Hip Hop artists getting rich for themselves...really that’s what’s supposed to happen.
DX: What was your reaction to From The Westside with Love II and how did you feel about the project?
Dom Kennedy: I think it did real well. It did what it was supposed to do. I did over 6,000 CDs just on iTunes in the first week. It was my first project on iTunes. A lot of people came out that week, shout out to Big Sean, and Curren$y came out that same day...Beyonce’s project, you know. I reached number 10 all over the world on iTunes. So for somebody who started in they living room two years ago and didn’t really have much, it’s a win of tremendous proportions, and the thing I’m going to do is just keep building with it. Next time try to get to number five and eventually number one.
DX: What are your thoughts about the major labels, and would you ever consider signing with one?
Dom Kennedy: I mean I can’t say I wouldn’t, you know? People ask me that all the time. I don’t want to be the guy that says I wouldn’t ever play for the Yankees and ends up on the Yankees. But I would definitely need an Alex Rodriguez contract to play for the Yankees [laughs]...that’s my only statement. Until then, I’m just doing my thing how I do it and having a good time. It’s a numbers game with me more so than a lot of shit, it’s a numbers game. It’s not a fame game with me. My numbers and my monetary income and everything and my shows and my support matches directly and it all evens out basically at the end of the day so that’s what I’d like to take care of, that’s what I like to worry about.