Heard that hot new hip-hop joint "Blaze & Destroy" on Domination? How about "Better Man" by Dutchmassive? Okay, so artists like Jazz Addixx, The Heart & The Brain, and Clan Destined aren’t exactly household names yet, but if D.J. Fisher and Mike Parker, co-founders of Orlando, Florida-based Domination Recordings have their way, you’ll be humming these artists’ tracks in the near future.
Fisher says he trusts his instincts and experience in the business (he’s done management and label work with artists such as Count Bass D, MF Doom, J-Zone, Rob Swift, Prophetix, and Styles of Beyond’s DJ Cheapshot) and mostly signs artists based on friendships. “Most of the music that we release is for the fans that love hip-hop from the late-‘80s and early-‘90s,” he explains. Fisher runs the label with Parker, as well as Enrique Diaz and Andrew Venable, who bring decades of experience to the imprint.
He’s got a tight team at his side, but the label also has tight music market to contend with. “Well its no secret the business isn't as great as it was a few years back,” admits Fisher. “But we have our full focus on making the music available as much as possible. We’re very involved in the digital download side of the business now, I think it’s a great way to introduce a lot of the new artists.”
So what is the sound of Domination? Diverse. While you’ll hear echoes of “Golden Era” acts like Tribe Called Quest, Brand Nubian, De La, and BDP, the label isn’t strictly mining the past for inspiration. This is next generation classic hip-hop.
Dreadlocked Atlanta duo Clan Destined’s sound falls somewhere between Black Star and Black Sheep. They trade fast-paced raps on tracks like “Plan B” and “The Language,” plus both AmDex and DT make beats, with a compressed style similar to the late J Dilla’s work with Slum Village. Then there’s Virginia’s boom-bap villains Jazz Addixx, who bring face slappin’ lyrics, in the vein of Beatnuts or Gang Starr, on some “try and step to this” ish! Their track “Dope” is hardly bravado–the jazz guitar-inflected track is laced with smooth wordplay and a catchy chorus.
Although hip-hop’s current rep is tarnished, Fisher knows he’s on to something: “In 2007 my expectations are not as high as they use to be, we just keep it moving and continue to release fine quality music.”
In three short years, the label has built a healthy roster of a dozen or more artists, including Cadence, Eddie Meeks, and Bilal Bashir–new names mostly, but artists with the talent to blow-up big. Its not like commercial radio will do these cats any favors, but Fisher’s got other plans. You could call them “plans for Domination”: “For the most part our focus is on college radio in the states, internet radio shows, and international radio. Much love to all the DJ's that show support!”
Domination Soon Come:
Jazz Addixx Oxygen Refreshed, in stores now.
The Heart & The Brain’s debut single "Thoughts In Blood," out this fall.
Check the new release from Amdex of Clan Destined titled The A.D.A.M. Lab Vol. 1., out now.