Here’s a review of a Dirty Projectors show in Portland that Dominique opened for last year:
Sometimes it’s baffling as to why two bands get teamed up to play a show. From the outside, the line-up seems like a bad idea, but on some lucky occasions, things magically work out. This was definitely the case with the odd, yet somehow fantastic pairing of indie juggernauts Dirty Projectors with unknown hip-hopper Dominique Young Unique. The two couldn’t have sounded more different, yet both groups’ energy played off the energy they drummed up at the Aladdin Theater.
Miss Unique is an 18-year-old performer from Florida whom it’s fairly safe to say few in Portland have heard of. This didn’t stop her from getting a solid crowd of people up out of their seats and to the front of the stage, waving their hands in the air and bouncing to the music. The set started off a little rough, with Unique jumbling her words and two guys on keyboards and a dj table offering some messy beats. The caliber of her show picked up, however, once she found her groove, and when she found it, man, did she ever. Despite her young age, Unique has a serious flow to her music and an over-the-top kind of sass that you just can’t fake. As the show lagged on, her voice became slightly grating, but it never detracted from the fact that this is a girl who knows how to put on a good show. Though her music may not be awe-inspiring, it is certainly catchy.
Here’s a band bio Austin 360 did of Miss Unique back in February:
In 50 words or less: Straddling booty club beats that mix heavy doses of Miami Bass with 808 groove and electro blip, Dominique Young Unique is a barely legal, stiletto-strapped, spitfire with a furious flow. Unabashedly nasty and exuding irresistible fierceness, she drops frenzied rhymes that move hip-hoppers and hipsters alike.
Could share a bill with… Ying Yang Twins, Nicki Minaj, Girl Talk, A-Trak, any of the Sissy Bounce queens (like she did at Fun Fun Fun Fest 2010).
Tantalizing tidbit: Rapping since she was 12, Ms. Young Unique’s career began to take off last year when she was 18. Look for her to put in appearances at some of SXSW’s hippest hotspots, Fader Fort, et al, sipping on a Sprite, no doubt.
Here’s what Tampa Bay’s Soundcheck wrote about Miss Unique last year as she went on tour supporting Dirty Projectors:
If you ever thought no hip-hop or indie artist would ever break big out of Tampa, here’s some stunningly awesome news.
Tampa’s own Dominique Young Unique, the much-blogged-about teenage hip-hop phenom who’s been setting the indie world — if not exactly the Jook City scene — on fire over the past year, is hooking up with one of Brooklyn’s most noteworthy indie rock bands, the Dirty Projectors, for a short tour. They’ll be jamming together for seven West Coast dates in September.
British producer David Alexander, who’s been shepharding Unique through the nascent stages of her musical career said the Dirty Projectors were simply fans, and they extended an offer through Unique’s booking agency.
In a weird way, the pairing does make some sense. The DPs dish out slinky, strange, off-kilter indie operas, yet rappers love ‘em (well, at least ?uestlove does). Unique’s mad style is rabid, frenzied, in-your-face sexiness. Put them together, and it’s a wildly creative and unexpected blend — which is probably exactly what the Dirty Projectors were going for.
The exposure Unique will get from this opening slot is off the charts. Forget the fact that the Dirty Projectors are the same band to whom New York Magazine devoted aglowing cover story, or that the New York Times recently called them the Rolling Stones of indie rock. Unique will be opening for the band in cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco, so there’s no telling which celebrities or music-industry honchos might be in the house.
This will cap a busy summer for Unique, who’s already planning a huge tour — including shows in New York, Toronto, Chicago, Spain and Belgium — in June and August. Seems like someone out there ought to book her a hometown gig, you know?
This is too awesome….Miss Unique’s “Follow The Leader” video caught MTV’s eye this week!!!!!!!!! Love it. Here’s what they wrote on the Buzzworthy blog:
Those in need of leadership from teenage rappers have found their savior. Dominique Young Unique, the buzz-inducing, 19-year-old wordsmith from Tampa recently released the video for “Follow The Leader,” the first single from her debut mixtape, Glamorous Touch.
While sadly — or fortunately, depending on your point of view — not a remake of Eric B. & Rakim’sclassic song, the club-friendly track blends Unique’s hip-hop background with electro- and house-inspired beats. With a chant of “I’ll be your leader,” we can picture this being the soundtrack at some misguided future political rally organized by a group of people trying to ascertain what “the kids” like.
The video features numerous close-ups of the charismatic and expressive rapper alongside animation that may have Disney’s lawyers raising an eyebrow. The animated hands could be any mouse, Dominique, but using your name in the Disney font? May want to have your attorney on speed dial, just in case.
Judging by the video, the unsigned rapper clearly is ready for fame. You can listen to Glamorous Touch in its entirety on Dominique’s SoundCloud page.
Dominique Young Unique makes her mark with "Follow the Leader"
The video premiere of “Follow the Leader” is TODAY. Spinner debuted it, and had this to say:
Her name is Dominique Young Unique and she’s ready to break you down with rapid-fire rhymes and a cutesy style that sucks you in but leaves you completely disoriented. The unsigned rapper from Tampa, Fla., has a “unique” affinity for real drum beats, organic rhythm and a snarl that is uncharacteristically hip-hop.
The video for ‘Follow the Leader,’ shot and edited by Johannes Schaff, features the young emcee in a cartoon world full of Disney-like animations complete with great chorus breakdowns.
“‘Follow the Leader’ is about leading people in a dance in a unique style,” Dominique tells Spinner. “Not giving a damn, just stepping out doing your thing — which is what I feel I’m doing with my music. I want people to know me and follow me so that’s what this song is about! I did the video in Tampa at this little studio with my sister Jazmine and her baby Lexi. Me and sis were clowning and just doing our thing, having fun, which I hope comes across in the video!”
Citizen Insane had lots of love for Dominique, posting several tracks and wrote this:
In news that’s only a couple of weeks old, Dominique Young Unique — of “Show My Ass” fame — dropped her first mixtape, Domination. I’ll be blunt: highly recommended.
While none of the twelve tracks reach the highs of “Show My Ass” (which is a legitimately greatsong), Dominique does a solid job showcasing her hyperactive flow and unique dance-rap sound. Pun not intended: Domination is made up of club-ready elements we’ve all heard before (Lil Kim,electroclash, Diplo, et al…) thrown into a blender and spit back out in a quick-fire, attention-deficit fashion.
Her case isn’t hurt by the fact that she’s a mere eighteen years old and has the talent to get attention from both the blogosphere and more major publications. Hell, she’s even opening for Dirty Projectors during the September leg of their current tour.
Download the entire mixtape by clicking here, but if you’re not sold yet, check out my favourite cuts below + a Hood Internet mash-up from their latest tape…
NOW Magazine had this to say about Miss Unique’s SXSW performance:
We’d kind of forgotten about that whole electro rap thing that was huge a few years ago, but the buzz surrounding Tampa MC Dominique Young Unique at SXSW this year was strong enough to get me to check out an unofficial day tent show.
As soon as she took the stage it was obvious why - not only does she have pretty impressive mic skills, she’s also got a ton of stage presence and charisma. Her overall sound might not be the hip new thing anymore, but that high energy party rap is still pretty effective in a live setting. One of the two guys she had backing her up appeared to be channeling Jimi Hendrix or something, throwing his battered keyboard across the stage and heavily abusing it, using effects to simulate guitar feedback chaos.
The show was definitely all about her though - you could put her on pretty much any beat and she could probably pull it off. You know you’ve got something going on when you can get an encore in the middle of the afternoon from hungover SXSW delegates lining up for free promotional whiskey shots.
Just Googled Dominique (again) and found out one of my favorite mags, XLR8R, posted the “War Talk” video back in March, and had this to say:
Loud-mouthed youngster and resident Tampa MC Dominique Young Unique is just days away from dropping her brand-new mixtape, called Glamorous Touch. Before that fiery batch of tracks is available to the masses, we’re treated to a music video for Dominique’s new “War Talk” song. The clip for the hyped-up tune was shot on location in the MC’s hometown by director Johannes Schaf, and basically features the starlet delivering her breakneck flow while walking the streets and parks of her balmy environs. Incidentally, if you’ll be at SXSW, and want to catch Dominique Young Unique’s magic live and in person, check out the list of her appearances below.
Too late! (ya missed out, she killed it!!!) In case you don’t have it yet, here’s the mixtape:
Tampa’s Soundcheck posted this about Dominique last year. It’s a nice little intro about Miss Unique + how she got started. Here’s a bit:
When all the attention first hit, it came as a huge surprise to Unique.
“I didn’t know my music was being played in London and New York,” she said. “I had a lot of people comment on my MySpace: ‘I can’t wait until you come to London!’ ‘You’re so good, you rock!’ It felt so good. I didn’t know that many people had heard my music, or liked my music.”
The young artist — real name Dominique Clark (she tagged herself “Young Unique” when she started rapping, and the name stuck) — has been rapping since 12, first in Tampa’s Robles Park neighborhood, and now in the apartment she shares with her family near Temple Terrace.
She tried singing, but that didn’t work out, so she started rapping. “I was writing my own songs,” she said. “I tried to be like Trina.”
A chance encounter with Shunda K., a founding member of Yo Majesty, led to the connection with Alexander. Together they put together singles Music Time and Hot Girl, which both made a splash on a number of prominent music blogs.
David Alexander, Dominique’s producer, describes what makes Dominique so unique:
“She’s got a very unique style, very different from most female MCs,” said said Alexander, who has lived in Tampa. “She’s got so much personality, and it’s really cool, exciting and different than what anyone else is doing with their voice.”
Alexander has flown to Tampa to record with Unique, but the rapper says a lot of their collaboration happens online. “I sit down, get on my computer, put my headphones on and listen to music,” she said. She checks out instrumentals and beats put together by Alexander, and lets the lyrics flow.
A former design student at Gary Adult High School, she’s still a lot like her teenage friends in Tampa — she loves club music, movies and bowling — even if not all of them know how big she’s getting. “Some of them really like it,” she said. “A lot of them are like, ‘You rap? How long you been rapping?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I rap. I’m getting ready to go on tour.’ ‘Girl, you lying!’”
But with trips to London and South by Southwest under her belt, and an EP on the way, she’s convinced everyone will know her music soon enough.
“I know the music thing is gonna work out,” she said. “A year from now, I think I’ll be at the top.”