Dominique Young Unique – From a Florida car park to the booty-bass Big Time in just 17 years
“Uh, ya got any chack-lit cake?” It’s 18.30 on a Thursday when we meet her, but Dominique Young Unique is in no mood to go savoury in the Tex-Mex restaurant above London’s Notting Hill Arts Club. A morbidly obese slice of cake soon arrives, doused in whipped cream, a mocha-chocolata-hearta-tack. She hoovers it down, disassembling it with a long spoon balanced between her pink fake nails while issuing a string of rapid-fire infobursts about her hard knock life.
Dominique Young Unique’s metabolism is evidently as overclocked as her flow. And what a flow that is: in terms of brutalist electro-rap dizzle-dazzle, she makes Thunderheist look like Bursting-a-paper-bag-heist. She spits it hyperspeed, aided by the hypercolour music of David Alexander (Yo! Majesty’s producer), who has conjured up a Mario World of chippy, tropictronic beats for her just-released ‘Blaster EP’.
It was Alexander who plucked her from the worse end of Tampa, Florida, in a rags-to-rap-career story that’s Chicken Soup For The Booty-Bass Soul. Rapper misery memoirs are of course 10 a penny, but to hear about the months she spent living in the family car with her mum spears all the familiar clichés. “My mom lost her job… and she used to go to the casino a lot… so she had a lot of loyalty points, so we stayed in a hotel at the casino for a while, then we had to move on…”
Long story short: a family friend was mates with one of Yo! Majesty. A demo got passed on. David Alexander flew out to work with her. “Now my family’s all over us,” she laughs, “lookin’ for favours every way.” Time will tell whether she can make it out of that ghetto reserved for rap acts who are a bit too clever, too ‘indie’, for the mass-market. But for now, there’s empire in her slightly naïve gaze. Certainly her reception at her numerous UK slots has been fevered. Like all good rap prodigies, she plugs the release date of her single, then talks about her plans for her own clothing line (she has the logo for Baby Phat tattooed on her right breast), and the rest of her ambitious plans. Dominique Young Unique will have her cake and she will eat it.
Need To Know
• DYU’s Tampa home is a few minutes from the MacDill Airforce base – the US command centre for operations in Afghanistan
• Before David Alexander came knocking, DYU was studying interior design at technical college
• She has a Maltese terrier named Diamond