Dom Kennedy Embraced By NYC Crowd, Despite L.A. Roots

'From the Westside, With Love II just came out last week, so it was shocking to me to see people that knew those songs,' MC marvels after packed show.

New Yorkers are a notoriously tough crowd — ask the Knicks or Yankees. Or try suggesting your favorite pizza spot, because you’re already wrong. The city is also full of staunch music critics, from The New York Times to the Apollo Theater’s Sandman. Hip-hop acts have a notoriously tough time getting the crowd to put their hands in the air.

West Coast MC Dom Kennedy didn’t seem to have much trouble Tuesday evening, however. Kennedy headlined a packed house — more like a sauna — at SOB’s in Lower Manhattan. And to many people’s surprise, Leimert Park’s very own had the crowd in the palm of his hand.

Even Kennedy looked pleasantly surprised at the start of his set as the audience repeated every word to songs old and new. He said the show was a bit of a celebration for the hard work he’s put in over the past few years.

“I realize that these are people that were probably listening to my music every day or every other day since these projects have come out,” Kennedy told MTV News. “From the Westside, With Love II just came out last week, so it was shocking to me to see people that knew those songs. But the other ones, it was our time to get together and have a good time.”

Kennedy said he knew he had a following in New York based on the reception he received at the listening party for his Original Dom Kennedy mixtape earlier this year, but the moment he got to the show and saw he couldn’t make his way from the green room to see any of the opening acts, he knew it would be a special night.

Kennedy’s From the Westside, With Love II dropped via iTunes last week, making it his first retail release. It’s the follow-up to his From the Westside, With Love, a project Kennedy felt was really good — most critics felt the same, but he thought it wasn’t complete. He wanted Part II to show his growth. He also wanted it to show that Tuesday evening’s overwhelming reception wasn’t a fluke.

“I built my projects to be the best,” Kennedy said. “Whether it’s a free project, whether my first project just came out on iTunes for $6.99, I built those projects to compete with Lil Wayne CDs, with everybody’s album. Whoever people consider the top album, whether it be selling or music-wise, I want the Dom Kennedy album to stand next to those.”

What do you think of Dom’s latest mixtape? Let us know in the comments!