Domani Takes His Own Route to Rap Stardom, Shares New Freestyle
When J. Cole calls, Domani answers. The rising Atlanta rapper recently received a phone call from the Dreamville Records head honcho after he listened to Domani's latest project, Time Will Tell, which dropped in June. Cole thinks the artist "delivered a classic," a sentiment that Domani clearly appreciated since he was visibly smiling when the moment was caught on camera.
Moments like this Domani doesn't take for granted. The rap upstart sat down with XXL to talk about the album J. Cole is praising and how he’s trying to build a hip-hop career without the help of his famous father, T.I. He also delivers a fire freestyle, which proves there’s no industry nepotism going on when it comes to his lyrical abilities.
"I seen too many niggas show up, show out and show true colors when that dough out/Nigga is you dumb?/I was raised by niggas you pour out your life to/I studied the game in three nights/I was listening at night one but mastered it by night two," he spits in his freestyle.
Surprisingly, during his interview, Domani reveals that he wasn’t into music at first but eventually he caught the lyrical bug. “It took me a minute to fall in love with music," he shares. "When I was young, I knew that I wanted to do music, [but] I didn’t want to put in the work."
"Nobody told me that I need to, for some reason I just forced myself to go to the studio,” Domani continues. “Now that I think about, I really don’t know why. I was a kid, I could be playing but I was like, ‘Nah, I need to go to the studio.’”
Domani adds that his father, T.I., wasn't around when he first started recording music. In 2010, Tip was sentenced to 11 months in prison for violating the terms of his probation. At that time, Domani was only 10 years old, but he was able to teach himself the rap basics.
“I learned how to turn my feelings and emotions into good music,” he reveals. “At that time, I was so young it really didn’t sink in. My dad was in jail, I really didn’t know that. But I knew [I wanted to do music] after I did my first song.”
Despite his father's absence, Domani was able to stay focused and carve a path that fits his musical style. “Growing up, I just went my own route," Domani affirms. "Of course, my dad and people who cared about me they gave me advice. But that’s based on what works for them. I just knew that I didn’t want to follow behind [my father] and do exactly what he did.”
But don't get it twisted, Domani is very appreciative whenever his father gives him some helpful advice. He soaks the game up and uses it while maneuvering in the music industry. “I think I know when to listen to [my father],” he says, adding, “You can’t beat the experience. So, if he said, ‘I did this, this many times and this what happened,’ you got to listen to that. You wouldn’t be that smart if you [didn't] listen to that.”
On Time Will Tell, Domani explores a myriad of topics and sprinkles in some life lessons. Standout tracks include "Not a Rapper" where Domani boasts about his authenticity in his rhymes. On "When I'm Gone," he warns of snakes in the industry, and on “Darkness,” he raps about depression and how he has arrived at happiness.
“This project is like my debut album,” he tells. “What it means for me is that it’s like a full story, it’s a complete story, it’s a movie. I had a goal, I knew what I wanted to talk about and I executed it. It’s one complete sound. One whole body of work.”
Domani's message of self-determination rings loud and clear throughout his album. “I try to have a message in all of my songs, I don’t like wasting people’s time, wasting people’s money,” asserts Domani, whose currently on the road as the opening act for Big K.R.I.T.'s From the South With Love Tour. “They spend their hard-earned money, coming out to shows [and] listening to music. I want to tell them something.”
Watch Domani's new freestyle and speak on taking his own route to stardom below.
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