West Coast Styles

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St. Louis, Missouri, born / Long Beach, California, raised rapper-singer-producer Domino, née Shawn Ivy, dropped his gold certified self titled debut, which spawned a pair of Billboard Hot 100 entries; “Getto Jam” and “Sweet Potatoe Pie,” in December 1993.

West Coast Styles recently tracked down the long absent from the scene artist formerly known as Genuine Draft…


First things first, last year (August 11th to be exact) marked the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop — What exactly does that mean to and for you?

Well, considering as a child I was blessed to have been sprinkled with the sounds of Run-DMC, Kurtis Blow, (The) Sequence with Angie Stone, Rakim, Slick Rick and NWA, just the thought of it still being embraced worldwide at an all-time high as of today is epic. Hip Hop has always been a place for expression. A place that welcomes your problems, your creativity from the heart, your lifestyle, your way of partying. Hip Hop is needed, and I’m glad the world in general co- signs the art.

To quote the late, great The Notorious B.I.G., “You never thought that Hip Hop would take it this far!” — Was this something that you ever could’ve imagined?

Yes, definitely! As a child when you love something that’s embraced by your peers you never think it’s possible to die. I’m well aware that trends can become fads and die quickly, but there’s something about the energy in music that won’t quit. I’m sure there were many who counted Hip Hop out back in the day because it became so infectious out of nowhere and was infused with other genres…but the following generational artists that had a luv for Hip Hop continued to effectively express in a way that was relatable to the culture. Kendrick Lamar just shut down the (Kia) Forum in Cali the other night in a historical way. The culture is on fire. The Notorious B.I.G. kicked dust on all the doubters and naysayers with that quote for sure, lol.

What are some of your fondest, most stand-out moments / memories during your lengthy tenure in this thing called Hip Hop?

My fondest moments were personal moments. First off going to Hot 97 in New York and hearing the DJ announcing “for the first time on the station the most requested song is from the West Coast, “Getto Jam.” Another time would be when I went to perform at the Apollo and Queen Latifah met me and started singing songs from the album. Crazy because I was a Big Latifah fan. And another time was when my first time performing in Texas and Scarface came to my tent before I went on and gave me props and started singing “Do You Qualify” from my album. It was like that song they made, I thought “My mind was playing tricks on me,” lol! Oh yeah and this one was as of late…while walking downtown L.A. in the midnight hours I was approached by some Latina teenagers. They looked at me and said, “are you Domino?” I was like, “dayum, how could they know..?” I said, “yes,” and they immediately asked to take pics. The luv was overwelming…after that session I vowed to show more luv and collab in music with the Latina / Latino community.

That said, what are your future plans and / or goals throughout the remainder of 2024 and beyond?

Future plans of 2024 is to get back in my lane with this melodic Hip Hop. For many years I’ve been absent from the game due to making my baby boy my main and only focus. Had to stay close and feed him the tools needed to step his character and academics up to become the honor roll student that he now is. Proud Poppa! On his way to College, he pushes out in August, too, and I’m pushing play in August. Back to the music.

Switching gears here, what exactly do you want people to get from your music?

I want people to get a good feeling from my melodies. Feel good music in whatever the topic it may be.

If you could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Man, sooooo many as I think but would have to go with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. Not only is he he an amazing Hall of Fame artist but in the August 2004 edition of XXL Magazine he was asked about his favorite artist in Hip Hop. He responded, “I was so big on Domino!” Totally mind blowing. I’m big on who’s big on me so with that said he’s my artist of choice.

On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop?

I’m happy that the current state is still a vibe-able one. It makes some people want to dance, some touches on political issues while uplifting and some even assist with the mental when indulging in cannabis activities. I am not cool with the making of music that is responsible for taking so many young lives. Those young lives are needed for new ways of creativity.

What do you feel has and will continue to be the key to your longevity?

Well, I’ve always been me and have never attempted to be any one else. In addition to that melodies will always sustain. I pressed hard to be heard. I remember back in 1992 / ‘93 I completed and shopped my song “Getto Jam” to be signed by a record label. No one wanted to sign it because they felt it wasn’t a proven style. Melody throughout an entire song in Hip Hop had never been proven. So I would go to the swap meet in the Low-Riders Week with the homies to bang it and sell CDs. It got so hot in the streets that this DJ named DJ Fut from Impact Record Pool approached me. He said, “this song is the hottest record in the street and I want my Boss to hear this.” I was like, “who’s your Boss?” He said, “Stevie Wonder”…I was like, “you BS’n.” He said, “no, I think you can make history with this song by becoming the first Hip Hop record ever added to KJLH.” After he played it for him he let me know that Stevie liked the record but he was not going to add it. He also said that he wanted to start a program for the record called “Make it or Break it” where the public would decide the decision maker. If I were to win 4 weeks in a row against the #1 songs on the station I would make history. Well long story short, the public decided I was worth it and so I became the first Hip Hop record to be added to KJLH. This would be the beginning of highlighted style in the culture. It not only went number 1 in Billboard Magazine but was #1 on three different charts on the same day in Billboard Magazine, which made it possible for many careers in Hip Hop. I believe an original of anything will always have a place in longevity.

Do you have any other outside / additional (future) aspirations, maybe even completely away from entertainment?

I am a fan of bringing balance and light to life. Bringing balance any way I can to children and those of special needs. Definitely planning to (be) more involved in the near future.

What’s an average day like for you?

I basically make it all about my son and his younger brother as well if needed. Being available is key. As of late I’ve started up with some light cardio in the gym to keep my mind clear and the blood moving. Preparing to get back on this bike of music. Vibing to oldies in Jazz, R&B, Hip Hop and even some Classical when I come across it. I’m not afraid to dive into new genres to find appreciation.

Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…

Instagram has been a great vehicle in allowing me to interact with my fans. I never knew how much I was luv’d around the world until I opened messages from Instagram. So many people from different countries saying I was the first cassette they bought in Hip Hop, how my music raised them and some even labeling me as a legend. Because of these messages I make it my business to respond in appreciation and truth as much as my limited time will allow.

What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And, why?

My favorite part is coming up with music that appeals to my soul and then performing it and watching the fans feel the same way. The alignment as one is an incredible feeling.

What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Don’t be afraid to embrace who you are naturally. It may feel uncomfortable at times because most people are followers by nature. But the truth is the world needs who you are naturally. They need your new way of creativity. They need your story. We have enough of the same thing. WE NEED YOU!

Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?

I see myself being fully understood as a pioneer of the Melodic Hip Hop flow as well as being a mentor in creativity and life to the youth in general. So is there anywhere we can hear some new Domino as we await time off? Yes, I have recently recorded a song for fans only that gives a rare look into my past, as well as paying homage and showing respect for a few luvones who have passed such as Snoop Dogg’s little brother BING and C-KNIGHT from The Dove Shack. RIP I posted it on IG when Bing passed but took it down after everyone gave their words of condolences. I’m going to post on YouTube for the readers and fans of this interview. Stop by and push play…if you feeling it leave a few words.



Domino: Back To The Music #HH50

Domino: Back To The Music #HH50

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