Monday, 30 August 2010


I remember that look on Yinka Agbabiaka's face back in 1994. We were students of Ijebu-Ode Grammar School, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, at that time. Like other teenage Nigerian boys, we were fans of American Hip-Hop artistes and rappers. Yinka was humming Domino's 'Ghetto Jam'to himself in class that day. I looked at him and smiled. Yinka looked up and met my gaze. 'Domino is really good, Tolu.'he said. I agreed with him absolutely. I had spent the previous holiday watching music videos in Lagos and Domino's videos stood out. His music was infectious and he had this laid back way of delivering his rhymes. It is 2010 and I'm wondering why Domino did not blow up like other LA Rappers.

Lets look at how Shawn Antoine Ivy started out as a Rapper and Singer. From RV's research, it has been discovered that two rival LA Gangs, the Bloods and the Crips, did the unthinkable by collaborating on a music project in 1993. The album titled 'Banging on Wax' featured members from the two notorious gangs and it was produced by Ron 'Ronnie Ron' Philips and rapper Tweedy Bird LOC. Though the album was recorded in two weeks, it turned out to be an underground hit with over 400,000 copies sold. Domino was one of the rappers on the album [ Domino performed under the stage name, Genuine Draft, on the LP ] alongside gang members like Sin Loc, Blue Ragg, Red Rag and Lil' Stretch. Domino's track was the first song on 'Banging On Wax' and he caught the ears of Hip-Hop afficionados with his style. The St Louis, Missouri, born artist could rap and sing at the same time. This unique ability set him apart from his contemporaries.

In December 1993, Domino came out with his debut album 'Domino'{ Outburst/Def Jam Records } and the world celebrated the birth of a new rapper. The album had a jazzy feel with thudding beats that brought the dance halls down. Listening to tracks like 'Ghetto Jam' and 'Long Beach Thang' makes you feel that the music is actually being recorded live in your listening space. Domino's songs also had good videos with beautiful ladies that made good eye candy. Have you seen the videos of 'Sweet Potato Pie' and 'Physical Funk'? You're bound to appreciate the fact that men cannot do without women. All the songs on Domino's first album were good and Gilliam [ The composer of most of the songs ] deserves some praise. Domino followed up with other albums 'Physical Funk' [ 1996, Outburst/Def Jam ]and D-freaked it [ 2001/Slipdisc ]. These two albums were not as successful as his first release and Domino gradually faded out of the music scene.

The reason given for Domino's musical demise is that West Coast Rap music fans felt that he stole Snoop Dogg's style. Snoop Dogg was just blossoming when Domino released his first album. This led to Domino's initial followers abandoning him for Snoop Dogg who was being promoted by Dr Dre and Death Row Records. The questions that comes to mind is this: Did Domino really steal Snoop Dogg's style? Or is he a victim of the politics and power play in the American Music industry? Having listened to Domino's songs, I don't think he sounds like Snoop Dogg. Afterall, every genre of music has more than five artists recording at the same time. To me, Snoop was more gangster than Domino. Domino's songs were mainly about having a good time, appreciating women and hanging with the guys in the hood. Snoop on the other hand glorified the gangster lifestyle on his early albums. Domino could have been pushed out of the scene due to the fact that powerful commercial interests on the West Coast Rap Scene might have perceived him as a threat to Snoop's rise in the Long Beach area. The fact that Snoop Dogg and Domino are both members of the Crips gang has not shaken this theory. So what really led to Domino's fall from grace to grass? This is the million dollar question that RV wants to answer as time goes on. No one can dispute the fact that Domino is a rapper that knows his onions. Maybe when he comes out with a new album, we'll get to know the truth behind his absence from the scene for so long.

Sources: RV,, Wikipedia

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