Dominique Young Unique: about to rock your world
By Al Horner on 16 August 2013 in Features
We catch up with the rising Tampa rapper to talk Earthquake, Mad Decent and total global domination.
Not so long ago, Dominique Young Unique was broke, sleeping in a car with her mother each night to escape a rocky home life. Now the rapper, who joined Branko from Buraka Som Sistema at Red Bull Studios London in 2012 to film the video for Going in Hard, is the voice behind one the biggest club anthems of the summer: DJ Fresh and Diplo’s Earthquake, soon also to be heard blaring out of multiplexes as the theme to action blockbuster Kick Ass 2. Not that the Tampa rapper will be rushing to her nearest cinema to see it.
“I’m more a Disney kind of gal,” she beams, her ferocious snarl on record replaced by a sweet purr in conversation. “I’d love to cover some Disney songs. Like, I should do a version of Colours of the Wind from Pocahontas. When I was five years old my entire room was covered in Pocahontas shit. I guess I look kind of like her so identified with her, what she was about. So Colours of the Wind, I could definitely put my swag on that.”
There’s been no Mouse House wish-upon-a-star fairy magic to Unique’s transformation from anonymity to the brink of hip-hop stardom, though: just hard work. The 21-year-old has been rising since 2010, blending rapid-fire raps with grinding electro beats on a string of homemade mix-tapes that have catapulted her onto stages with the likes of Gucci Mane, Big Boi and NERD, not to mention onto the pages of Vogue, who photographed the rising star for their August 2012 issue.
“It’s been a pretty wild ride,” she admits. “To have been rhyming since I was 11, to have always wanted this and now to have come so far, I’m so thankful.”
“We met in Miami after, which was so funny and embarrassing – I just couldn’t stop laughing at his head. Seriously, he has one big ass head! He’s a really sweet guy though.” Has she ever been in an actual earthquake? “Nah. The worst I’ve had in Tampa is just heavy drizzle.”
With her debut album being recorded in London, where she “hates the weather but loves the food and shopping”, Unique has plans for more collaborations and she’s aiming big.
“Obviously someone I’d love to work with is Jay-Z. And everyone loves Beyonce, so I don’t even need to say her, right?” she laughs. “But Tina Turner is like the Beyonce of my mom’s generation. I’d love to get her on a really big trap beat and get working with her. I love her!”
The album, she promises, is going to make good on the title of her 2010 breakout tape: Domination. “It’s going to be this super passionate, big urban record. Y’all not ready for it.”