Performers on the Blue Stage have an inherently harder time connecting with audiences before the sun sets. Who wants to dance to electronic beats or hip-hop in the mid-afternoon? Dominique Young Unique wanted to, but she fell into that well-worn trap of laptop-itis on Saturday.
First things first: the eighteen-year-old is a master with the mic, strutting around the stage in an impossibly short mini-skirt and spewing rhymes in rapid-fire succession. Dominique is a young phenom, but even her electric charisma couldn’t hide the fact that she’s still young when it comes to live performance. Her DJ repeatedly flubbed the timing on the songs, and Dominique seemed lost while he tinkered with his laptop. She nailed the verses, but when it came time to sing the hook, she held back. The results were a bit jarring—a nice flow, then a few hiccups. She’s a relative unknown with just a handful of singles to her name, but the crowd gave her the benefit of the doubt. Once she gets some professional backing and a few years under her belt, Dominique Young Unique will be a force to be reckoned with.
Sometimes I’ll be walking down the street listening to my mp3 player and I’ll think “Man, what if this song was really the soundtrack to this scene in the movie of my life… how inappropriate would that be.” … I’m just a crazy person, don’t mind me.
This was posted by MOKB Presents back in February to promote a DYU show. Check it:
18 year old Dominique Young Unique is dropping sick bangers dripping with swagger and spitfire rapping just in time for warmer weather and outdoor boomboxes. Unique dishes out a frenzied, stutter-stepping electro-hop sound that’ s more kinetic than a neon carnival. And she’s definitely one to watch. After performing in March at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, Unique seems positioned to pick up where Tampa freak-rap pioneers Yo Majesty left off. Teamed up with Yo Majesty’s producer David Alexander. The pair are currently working on her debut mixtape, ‘Domination’, due out in May. Alexander brings the beats and the vibe. Unique brings the lyrics and the attitude. It’s an electric mix that has racked up innumerable raves:
The Boston Phoenix called her Florida’s best new artist. Stereogum called her video for new single Show My Ass “unabashedly catchy and straight-up fun.” The Fader called her “the deffest chica from down south since like JJ Fad.” After her smash-bang set at SXSW, even Rolling Stone raved about her “indescribable, unignorable mix of Miami bass, Neptunes, French house (and) dub-punk.”
Tampa rapper Dominique Young Unique has enough sass for six twenty-year-olds, and enough skill that she could probably afford to give some to all the boys her age making done-before hip-hop and still have plenty left over. She will prove it to you if you listen to all two minutes and seven seconds of latest single “War Talk,” which will drop with 11 other new songs on her mixtape Glamorous Touch tomorrow.
Ms. Young Unique can rap, and she can do it well, and she can do it fast, over some great, complex beats. The video for “War Talk” is set in Dominique’s hometown and features her playing basketball and wandering around and generally being a ten times more boss version of the girl next door. Check it out.
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The fresh-faced Floridian rapper Dominique Young Unique took over New York City’s CMJ Music Marathon this weekend with her lightning-quick, filthy lyrics, and playful stage presence. And we were there!
Since we can’t really publish her lyrics, (umm…”Show my A**”? “P***y Poppin”? This whole blog post would be asterisks) we can at least show you the crazy photos we captured at her Brooklyn Southpaw show on October 20!
Here’s a review of Dominique’s recent show at Glasgow’s Sub Club:
Dominique Young Unique, a 19-year-old skelf of a girl in killer heels from Tampa, Florida, has been attracting comparisons to Lil’ Kim, giving shout-outs to Queen Latifah and referencing the curt, funky rhythms of Missy Elliott. There is no doubt, based on her underground output to date, that she has the potential to join their ranks.
Backed by a DJ and live keyboards, which made all the difference in terms of instant appeal, she dispatched an all-killer-no-filler half-hour set with none of the time-wasting shenanigans that often blight hip-hop shows. Her opening gambit contrasted the shrill squawkiness of her teenage delivery with the electro funk stylings of the early hip-hop pioneers.
From here she dived straight into a rapid-fire rap, reminiscent of the Jamaican toasters, spitting out rhymes over a chunky electro disco backing before switching lanes again on a cheeky R&B-influenced number.
The rocking pop track The World Is Mine rode in on the crest of a sample of Stevie Wonder’s Part Time Lover while the solid hook of Follow the Leader had the confident ring of a crossover hit and even inspired a short-lived stage invasion when Unique broke off to wish happy birthday to one of the dancing punters.
She can bare her teeth when required but for all the swagger of her lyrics (not best discernible on his occasion), there is something fundamentally cute about her stage presence which was well suited to the rapid clapping beat of Show My Ass, a track as representative as any of the cheerleader energy and cut-and-paste creativity of her music.
The Guardian (one of the best papers ever), had this to say about Dominique:
Dominique Young Unique has the kind of backstory you’d expect in a rags-to-riches movie. Born in the poorest part of Tampa, Florida she was forced to live in a car after her mum lost her job and briefly stayed in a casino hotel until her mum’s credit ran out. Rapping since she was 12, a demo tape eventually found its way to Yo! Majesty producer David Alexander. As if that wasn’t enough, her current home is situated next to the MacDill Airforce Base (ie the command centre for US operations in Afghanistan, which inspired her track War Talk). Unique’s style is, well, unique, with complex rhymes tumbling out over Day-Glo, arcade-game beats that take the Timbaland/Missy Elliott template to the next level. There’s a raw, DIY edge to The World Is Mine, both musically – it’s basically a Super Nintendo game imploding – and with the video, which has a charming awkwardness.