The Break Presents: Domani
Being born to a rap superstar, Domani, son of Clifford "T.I." Harris, has been surrounded by hip-hop his entire life. In theory, such an inborn predisposition could make it hard to sift through memories and determine when, exactly, he decided to pick up a mic himself, but Domani remembers the moment vividly.
"I fell in love with music when pops got out of [jail]," Domani says during a visit to XXL's Manhattan office, recalling the period when Tip recorded his Paper Trail album. "When I was in the studio with him, seeing him making this music, and then when it finally got out, seeing how the people took it, how it affected the world, I fell in love with it. I realized my voice could travel so far."
That was 10 years ago and now Domani, who turned 17 back in March, has been testing the reach of his own music. Since dropping off his eponymous debut project back in 2016, the young rapper has been impressing folks with thoughtful lyrics and some versatile songwriting on his way to accumulating loads of listens on SoundCloud.
Like his pops, Domani is a smooth-flower with the capacity to make tunes for the club or for self-reflection. Unlike his father, Domani's tracks are devoid of a street ethos, focusing more on teen romance and the complications that accompany life as a child star. He showcases all of his many talents on his March project, Amygdala.
With the ability to tap into melody, rock-solid rhyme technique and a down-to-earth personality, Domani is all set to continue along his way to rap stardom. Learn more about the rap rookie in this week's edition of XXL's The Break.
I grew up listening to: "Definitely OutKast, Goodie Mob, Dungeon Family. Kendrick, of course. [J.] Cole. I listened to a lot of R&B. I like Lauryn Hill, just a bunch of soulful stuff. I listen to the new generation. A lot of people don't like 'em, but I like 'em—they just got a different approach to things. Mix them all together, create your own."
People compare my style to: "My age has a lot to do with [comparisons]. Since I'm young, they're gonna compare me to anybody young and doing the same thing I'm doing. NBA Youngboy, I think he 'bout the same age as me. Of course Jaden Smith, 'cause they see our parents or whatever. Getting to the lyrics—this is the best comparison I've heard—but they compare me to André (3000)."
Most people don’t know: "I've been a pescatarian for about three or four years. Turned vegetarian about a year [ago]. [I'm a] vegetarian going into vegan. I just knew that everything that we were being fed wasn't right. Processed meats and all that stuff, GMO, I just knew that. I cut these things out to see how strong I was mentally. [To] stop eating what I really like was a mental thing at first. Then after I started seeing changes—I had more energy, I could think clearer—it was stuff like that. After that I just never went back."
My standout moment to date: "Just seeing how my music affects people and now people actually listen and they wanna help me. People say I can record any time. These the same people that put legends on. People that worked with Pops, they starting to gravitate towards met—they wanna be a part of this. They wanna help me out because they see what's going on."
My goal in hip-hop: "My goal in hip-hop is to see growth in myself and to see the impact that I make on other people. The way that I look at André, the way that I feel about Biggie—if I see a kid walk up to me in the street with that same look in his eyes that I once looked at with these legends, that's it. This kid is looking up to me and building his whole career on what he's seen me done. Following the things that I did, not making the same mistakes I made. I love it. That's all I want."
I’m going to be the next: "I am going to be the next artist to use my platform for the right reason instead of having a platform and using it to direct kids to do drugs and holding up money like, 'This is what you need to seem cool.' I'm gonna use my platform for the right reason. Show you that you don't need this money to look cool, you really don't need that stuff. It's sad because I can sit here and tell you money means absolutely nothing, but because you know the position that I'm in, you not gon' listen to what I'm saying until you have money. You gon' say, 'Well, shoot, since you complaining, give me your money and we gon' see how that's gon' go.' So it's sad because everybody needs money to see that you don't need money. So if we all had the ability to be rich and to be wealthy we would all realize that none of this means anything. I just wanna show that."
Here's the Ultimate Guide to Rappers With Acronyms in Their Name