Music News

Odd Future's Domo Genesis Left ASU on a Quest for an Iced-Out Charizard

Page 2 of 2

In fact, Domo is largely Tyler the Creator's opposite. Domo went to high school with Tyler in Los Angeles but kept his distance until he heard Tyler's music and liked it. At that exact moment, Tyler was streaming himself on the Internet, playing the drums discordantly and shouting out obscene nothings. If Tyler was the troubled skater kid on a steady Ritalin regimen in your high school, then Domo was the friendly weed dealer.

"He's, like, one of my closest bros," Domo says of Tyler. "We've shared a lot of shit. I think he's a genius, but I'll never tell him that."

Unfortunately for Domo, he was unable to share Odd Future's early success with Tyler. While Tyler, Left Brain, Hodgy Beats, and Mike G were playing a sold-out show in London in November, Domo was stuck in design classes at ASU.

"I hated that with all my heart. Hated it!" Domo says. "When they went to London and I couldn't go, my heart was broken. I felt so sad. But at the same time, I was rooting them along. One of us make it, we all make it. We are like a family, so it was like a love-hate thing."

Not that Domo wasn't experiencing a more modest rise to fame in Tempe. Shortly after releasing Rolling Papers in August, Domo was walking through the halls of Campus Suites on Apache Boulevard when heard someone playing the album in his apartment. It was surreal, Domo remembered.

Pitchfork published a story on his song "Super Market." When the Smoker's Club Tour played the Clubhouse in December, Smoke DZA surprised Domo by bringing him on stage to perform "Rolling Papers." Then in February, Wiz Khalifa titled his new album Rolling Papers, setting off a wave of backlash from Odd Future fans on Twitter. Domo didn't care. It brought some attention to himself and resulted in 16,000 additional Rolling Papers downloads that week.

Supposedly, kids attend college to figure out their own paths in life. For Domo, the road was beginning to look as though it led back to Los Angeles. He is not the first rapper to attend a Valley school only to figure out that success was waiting for him in California. Ice Cube studied architectural drafting at the now-defunct Phoenix Institute of Technology in 1988 after he had already released "Boyz-n-the-Hood" with N.W.A. We all know where that story went.

After missing the London show, Domo realized that he wanted to leave school and commit to Odd Future full-time. He returned to ASU for his fourth semester only because his mother wanted him to.

"Of course, you want to do whatever makes your mom happy, but you want to live your life, too," Domo says.

It's strange to realize that the members of Odd Future have barely left adolescence and their mothers might actually still be influencing their career moves. For instance, Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler's 16-year-old brother and the group's best lyricist, went missing as soon as the group began to gain notoriety.

"It's O.F. buttercup / Go ahead fuck with us / Without a doubt a surefire way to get your mother fucked / Ask her for a couple bucks / Shove a trumpet up her butt / Play a song invade her thong / My dick is having guts for lunch," he rapped on "Earl." It's easy to imagine his mom hiding him from the public eye after hearing that.

Since he went missing, Odd Future have run around shouting "Free Earl!" in the vein of Bun B's "Free Pimp C!"

Domo's mother didn't react drastically. Before Rolling Papers, she had no idea what a stoner Domo really was, so the album, and its heavy dose of marijuana references, came as a shock. Eventually, she warmed up to the album and his music.

"She's the kind of mom that's like, 'Speak your mind,'" he says. "So she's not gonna hold me back from anything I want to say. I'll call her and rap a new verse to her, like, 'Oh, look, Mom, I got this new verse' full of cuss words talking about spraying in bitches' faces and shit. She likes it, though, as long as it rhymes and sounds good."

Domo's new album, still nameless and scheduled for release any day now, will have a much broader perspective — one he forged through his college experience.

"I don't want to be compared to Wiz Khalifa for the rest of my life," he says.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Piel
Contact: Chris Piel