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EXCLUSIVE: Dom Kennedy Talks Tour, Never Releasing Free Mixtapes Again + More

(AllHiphop Feature) After his October release of his second commercially released album Get Home Safely, Dom Kennedy is quickly becoming one of the preeminent voices in the independent Hip Hop scene. The album was released on Kennedy’s The Other People’s Money Company record label after turning down an offer from Interscope Records. Dom spoke exclusively with AllHipHop about his upcoming tour, potentially never releasing another project for free and more.

AllHipHop: You have said that you wanted Get Home Safely to be timeless.It has been over three months since it came out. How do you think it has lasted over that short period of time?

Dom Kennedy: I feel like it’s doing good. It’s got better. We’ve sold on iTunes and stores consistently selling records. People are picking it up and buying. We  haven’t shot no videos really. “South Central Love” being the first video and it was a trailer. But, we have a couple of songs off there we shooting videos for. One coming real, real soon. It’s really just about to be started.

You’re right. You haven’t really started a big push for the album. At one point it was even pushed back. But when it came out it was the only independently released album on the Top 5 Billboard Hip Hop Album Charts. How does that feel to be up there with the Pusha T’s, the Drake’s and you’re the only one independent?

Makes me want to work harder..to be honest. Seeing how close we have….how far we have come to how close we are doing things like that being independent, you know what I mean? Kind of just makes you see, how much more could you push or where could you go. Keep going with it. That’s what keep me going. Seeing things like that keeps me going.

What is your writing process like? How does Dom Kennedy get down to making a song?

It starts with the music off top. I’ll sit around listening to beats with producers. Whoever I’m working with, whether they bringing me beats or we creating something from scratch or any of that. I am always starting with the music. I’m always starting with the music, because that’s going to let me know which direction and where I’m going to go. After that I’m just trying to be apart of the music.

When I found the beat for “Black Bentleys” it wasn’t that it took me to write..it doesn’t take me till 6 in the morning if I start at 11 to write every word. It just takes me a while to figure out what it is that this beat needs me to do and what story I need to tell. That’s moreso what it was is getting the most out of that and making sure that when I’m done with it. I’m done with it. I don’t have nothing about it I feel a different way.

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You released music before 2008 but 2008 was when you released your debut mixtape 25th Hour. Also around that time Nipsey Hussle came out with Bullets Don’t Have No Names Vol. 1. Curren$y had his mixtape series. Odd Future and Kid Cudi released debut mixtapes. So many rappers that are nowx major players in the game started in 2008. What was that year like?

It was interesting. It was a unique time. Now looking back on it now it was a unique time. Like you said a lot of people came out around that time and still survived. I’ve been talking about this more recently with people and coming to a realization like that was just a unique window. Its not going to be like that again. Those peope and the people that came through at that time, you know? With the internet and rap trying to get back on its feet and just the music business in general was in a shuffle. It was cracked in a sense that it allowed people like me to get by but I think if you was coming out 2014 and this your first start at it, you can’t do what a Dom Kennedy does.

A recent trend that’s happening is once rappers who get known for mixtapes and consistent mixtape releases get a certain level of notoriety they start releasing them less. Now that you have two commercial albums under your belt already, will you cut back on giving out free projects?

I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about that. The Yellow Album was free, but that was only because it was by choice. I was going into it and that was my mindset. Honestly, after I started making it I knew it was going to be tight and I could sell it and all that but in my mind and in my heart I went in to make this for free. But I don’t know if I’ll ever do a mixtape or something like that–something for free. I don’t really see how it would fit into what I do, especially at this point. The goal is to get better and to go harder. If my next goal is to be 10 times better than Get Home Safely why would I put that out for free if I didn’t put Get Home Safely out for free?

You coming to New York City for Irving Plaza. How you feel?

It’s my first time at Irving Plaza. I’m looking forward to the venue. It’s my first time performing there in New York. We always have a good time. I know it’s cold as sh*t. I’m coming out every night with one goal in mind, just doing my thing. Bringing the album and the feeling that I had, the mindset that I had when making the project to the stage. Obviously I’m going to get into some other songs for the fans, some Yellow Album songs. I’m just looking forward to brining my favorite body of work up to date to this point, Get Home Safely to the stage.

Dom Kennedy is performing tonight at Irving Plaza.

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