When your crew’s credo is “Kill people, burn shit, fuck school,” it’s easy to give off the wrong impression.
During the Odd Future ascendency of 2010, the misinformation levels reached heights eclipsed only by North Korean dictators. But rather than golfing a 34, the Golf Wang comrades allegedly advocated homophobia, sexual assault, cannibalism and a grotesque revival of tie-dye.
Aside from OFWGKTA’s fondness for psychedelic socks, none of the accusations were valid. The hip-hop collective had merely mastered Internet media manipulation and how to stoke false controversies, receiving free publicity unseen in rap since Eminem stuffed his first fictional body in a trunk.
The truth was more complex. The crew contained two openly LGBT members. Some did drugs, some stayed sober. Some screamed “666,” some attended reform school in Samoa, and others were Good Samaritans for the swag era.
“Public perception is funny. They thought we were just some crazy rude motherfuckers kicking people’s mailboxes over,” Domo Genesis says with a laugh, smoking Backwoods at Babylon, the skate shop owned by Odd Future–affiliated hardcore band Trash Talk. The die-hard Lakers fan rocks a throwback Kareem Abdul-Jabbar jersey, black pants, Nike Dunks and a snapback. In the backyard, teenagers glide back and forth on the store’s half-pipe.
“We wasn’t even like that,” Domo continues, alternately playing PS3 and crooning the “Ignition Remix.” “All the videos of us going crazy in the front yards of people’s houses? When the video was over, we were like, ‘Yo sorry!’”
To many fans, Odd Future remain eternal enfants terribles — yet Genesis never fit that stereotype. He’s the first to admit how bizarre it is that he just turned 25.
“I’ll walk out a store, look at an old lady with a basket full of groceries or trying to pump gas, and be like, ‘Oh, you need help with that?’” the Westchester High grad says, describing his current life in Culver City.
He was the Arizona State stoner who only realized that a music career might be a viable option after hearing his Tyler, the Creator–produced debut, Rolling Papers, bumping in the dorms. It remains a high point of the first wave of Odd Future solo records, a breezy blunt cruise singing the praises of smoke, sex and cereal — a welcome addition to the weed-rap canon.
The erstwhile Dominique Cole followed it up with a pair of mixtapes, a full-length collaboration with Alchemist and an album with his OF brethren MellowHype. But last month’s Genesis feels like the introduction of the second phase of Domo’s career.
Without sacrificing his laid-back, genial charm, it exhibits a more contemplative streak — analyzing his missteps as well as offering thanks for his good fortune. He blends neo-soul with narcotic haze, recruiting Anderson .Paak, Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J, Mac Miller and Tyler into his cypher. In the process, he asserts himself as a new model for the modern stoner.
If the weed rap of the previous generation aspired to soundtrack the old-school, bong-rips-and-potato-chips archetype, Domo represents a world where marijuana culture and mainstream culture are practically indistinguishable. He’s a meditative, vegetarian, video game–playing gentleman who happens to rap very well. He still smokes daily, but it doesn’t consume his identity. His youthful nihilism has morphed into cautious positivity.
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“It’s just grown from us being so innocent, saying we didn’t care, to me really caring now,” Genesis says. “I give a fuck about how other people’s days are going, from the biggest to the smallest — like when I step into the gas station and the attendant helps me, I’m like, ‘Yo, have a good day.’ I can’t explain what changed ... I just know I see things differently now.”
An L.A. native, Jeff Weiss edits Passion of the Weiss and hosts the Shots Fired podcast. Find him online at passionweiss.com.