By Aaron Rhodes
Dominique Hall attended fashion merchandising classes at the college six years ago. Since that time, Hall has not made a name for himself within fashion, but within the Kansas City hip-hop scene under a different name: Dom Chronicles.
Chronicles is currently on a 17-day tour that includes appearances at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. He stopped by The Loop KC, a streetwear shop in Westport, a day before leaving for Chicago to discuss his tour, new album and other future plans.
Chronicles talked about the things that make his new album “Reality Makers” different from his past releases.
“It’s just more musical, man. I’m not rapping about weed and girls 24/7. I’m really expanding as far as trying to get into different genres of music. There’s some dance music on there. I love house music. It’s really challenged me to make beats, too — I made three beats on the album.”
Imagery, in the music and the visual artwork, also plays a big part in “Reality Makers.” The wheel that Chronicles has been using on recent promotional graphics stems from his interest in ancient mythology.
“Inside of the wheel, if you take the circle from out of it … that circle stands for heaven or God in Sumerian cuneiform.”
While Chronicles said he’s personally not too religious, fate is an important topic in his work. The album’s title is a reference to Chronicles’ belief that while God offers people opportunities in life, it is up to individuals to take those chances and capitalize on them.
“I’m creating my own fate,” said Chronicles.
Part of creating his own fate involves taking his music on the road. Chronicles’ current tour makes stops in Chicago, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Austin among others. He explained that most of his touring is booked through personally networking with other artists, helping them book shows in Kansas City in exchange for a show in their town.
“We don’t have a publicist or a booking agent. … I’m cool with a lot of artists in different cities and we’ll trade shows. I’ll bring them here on something I think is going to be dope and they’ll bring me there on something [they] think is going to be dope … [my friend Steddy P] will be like, ‘I could book you in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, through this guy because he owes me a favor,’ and I’m like, ‘Bet.’ We just go. I’ve never been to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in my life. I don’t know how the show’s going to be, but I don’t care.”
Steddy P helps run the label Chronicles is on, Indyground Entertainment, and has offered Chronicles guidance over the years. Steddy P was one of the first people Chronicles showed his music to when he made the transition from freestyling and writing casually to recording five years ago. Chronicles recounted what made him want to be a rapper in the first place.
“I’ve loved hip-hop for so long. … My dad always used to have tons of CDs I would just grab, from DMX to … E-40. I’ve always had a way with words. I’ve always written poetry. In high school I would write poems to girls on PalmPilots.”
When school wasn’t working out, he decided it was time to put his effort into something he already enjoyed. He didn’t want to work at Sonic forever, so he’s been taking his music seriously ever since. Chronicles has had the opportunity to go on tour multiple times, release multiple albums through Indyground and open for national acts like Curren$y and Sir Michael Rocks when they come to town.
Chronicles also recently began hosting a series of DJ nights called Sensei Parties with labelmate Scotty Wu, whom he bonded with over their shared appreciation for hip-hop and Asian culture. They are also planning an album of the same name based on this collaboration.
After the album is released, Chronicles hopes to build Reality Makers as a brand as well, creating merchandise to go along with it as well as expanding further into skateboarding culture and even launching a media outlet at some point with the aim of creating jobs and getting young creative people involved.
“I want to help kids realize that they [can do what they want to do]. I feel like a lot of people are lost these days. Kids don’t really know what they want to do. … All they want to do is look cool and post Instagram pictures. … I want to teach the youth how to think big.”
In an age dubbed the “freelance economy,” where workers must be flexible and multifaceted, Dom Chronicles’ vision of being as creative and productive as possible while thinking big has never been more realistic.
“Reality Makers” is out March 21 through Indyground Entertainment.