text ERIN DENNISON
photo CONAN THAI
Spring of 2012 we received a clandestine password-protected link via email with the subject line, “this kid is gonna pop,” sent to us by an industry clairvoyant I met serving bottles in Hoboken back in 2006 #struggle. This oracle of a Jersey girl has predicted the rise of and collaborated with the who’s who of burgeoning industry talent. Artists like Kid Cudi, A$AP Rocky and our 2013 March/April cover boy, multi Grammy-winning producer Chase N Cashe, have all been her prophecies. Suffice it to say, when Kerry emails, I left-click. This time, the surreptitious hyperlink lead to a captivating video for hip-hop newcomer, Dominic Lord’s track, Pierce. The arresting beauty of inky indigo shadows scored by haunting vocals and synth-y beats were certainly atypical for a new artist’s debut EP. Musically, Pierce contains off-tempo screwed up beats that fall just as the hook descends beneath lyrics like, “Fuck with the God child/You’re gonna need your guns now (blood bath)” and is set to visuals with the exquisite editing, cinematography, and production of a couture fashion short—not at all what you’d expect by a 19-year-old from Harlem.
As an early member of the famed A$AP Mob, Dom sharpened his creative teeth as the crew’s designer. He has since cut ties with the group, going solo with Pusha-T’s manager, Steven Victor, which has proven to be a decidedly good move for the multi-hyphenate songwriter/producer/designer. The self-proclaimed music designer’s introduction to the industry has been so on point, that just one year later, designer Riccardo Tisci flew Lord out to sit front row at the SS13 Givenchy show during Paris Fashion Week, and just this June, Vogue debuted his latest up-tempo alt banger, Overworld to the blogosphere. Though still learning to make beats, Dom was able to expertly choose an eclectic selection of talent to collaborate with for his first EP. Fashion Show was co-produced by Madd Matt, Hudson Mohawke, The Neptunes’ Chad Hugo and Rico Beats, with Pusha-T on the somber Pierce remix. The range of epic cosigners helped ensure that Lord’s entrance into the game was felt as gutturally as his irregular beats.
Remarkably, with relatively little content and under two years of experience, Dominic Lord’s output has attracted more buzz than many industry veterans. Much like his former mentor A$AP Rocky, his hype has been due in large part to the discerning fashion industry spotlight. A cocktail of rebellion and refined aggression swirled together in a moody color palette serves as this muse’s alchemy, at least according to elite design houses.