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Domani's "Time Will Tell" Is A Cinematic Musical Experience

Mitch Findlay
June 06, 2019 13:21
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Time Will Tell

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HNHH PREMIERE: Domani asserts himself with confidence on the layered and lush "Time Will Tell."


Domani understands the value of narrative structure. It’s evident upon listening to “How It Feel,” the eleventh track from Time Will Tell, in which the young rapper’s storytelling prowess is unveiled in full. Detailing a break-in and the subsequent fallout with an author’s attentive eye, Domani’s eloquent reflections suggest wisdom beyond his years. He understands that actions have consequences, that alternate paths might have been forged through the slightest deviation. “If it wasn’t for that movie that came out, we wouldn’t have the drive in bumping, we would have been at that house when it had been down,” he ponders. “After that mama carried her purse more often, told me keep the door locked and announce when you coming in.”

When I spoke with Domani during a private listening session of Time Will Tell, he stressed the importance of cohesion. “I feel like an album is supposed to tell a story,” he explained. “It’s supposed to take you on a journey. You don’t want to go be over here for no reason. I like a good sequence.” It’s no wonder his method is more meticulous than most. He’s not out here recording legions of contending songs and deducing the highlights. Each chapter of his story has a purpose, one he has already set out on achieving well beyond the initial writing stages. It’s no wonder that Time Will Tell feels uniquely cinematic, a quality mirrored by a throughline of lush, orchestral production.

"A lot of people had their own assumptions and opinions about what I would do and what I could do. Even I did. So I just thought Time Will Tell if I get out what I put into it." - Domani

It’s not uncommon to hear lengthy outro sections driven by strings, guitars, and piano. There’s a grandiosity imbued within the music itself, a deviation from the contemporary landscape of Atlanta Trap Music. Domani uses his chosen soundscapes wisely, meeting emotional arrangements with vulnerability, celebratory ones with a well-earned sense of triumph - even the occasional venting session. The title track, which makes for the album’s most immediately accessible cut, serves the latter purpose quite nicely. “Cracked jokes when daddy went to prison,” he spits in the chorus. “In 2nd grade, them teachers always talked about his sentence told me I'd end up just like him, I was only eight, when he got out, that lady handed me her mixtape.”

There’s much to unpack across the fourteen-track project, though several first impressions come to mind. For one, Domani’s penchant for lyricism bodes well for his future endeavors, and his pen game will only grow with the passing years of experience; given there’s already strong foundational work, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him emerge as one of the New South’s promising young lyricists. There’s also something to be said about the musicality of Time Will Tell, which feels particularly refreshing in a scene dominated by 808 basslines and moody synthesizers. The fact that he’s unafraid to allow a given instrument respectable breathing room is a testament to a greater sense of vision; for that reason, the classical elements stand among one of my immediate takeaways. All things considered, Domani's Time Will Tell is a dense and emotionally honest tale, rewarding for those willing to appreciate the nuanced pleasures of the scenic route. 

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