Dom Deshawn
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Dom Deshawn

Columbus, Ohio, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Columbus, Ohio, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Solo Hip Hop Indie





Columbus native Dom Deshawn just dropped a powerful new project, “Maintainin’”, featuring his lead single “Above Water”. Growing up surrounded by music, Dom was inspired by artists like Missy Elliot, Nas, Slum Village, Little Brother, and Aaliyah, which have shaped his evolving sound into a unique blend of genres and styles. Dom originally dreamed of going to Art school, but after discovering his passion for music he dove headfirst into creating and honing his craft, releasing his first mixtape in 2011. Fast forward to 2021, and Dom has released two full albums and several singles that have garnered him a growing fanbase.

“Above Water” is track 3 on the album, featuring Dom’s chill, groovy Hip-Hop vibes as he dives deep into his thoughts on his life and experiences. Throwing in a soulful hook, Dom explains that he is pushing hard to get through every day, knowing that as long as he stays “Above Water”, someday he’ll come ashore and find peace. For listeners looking for a unique track to vibe to and a really cool project surrounding it, Dom Deshawn’s new album “Maintianin’” is definitely worth checking out. - MajorStage

"Meet Dom Deshawn | Hip Hop artist and overall creative"

We had the good fortune of connecting with Dom Deshawn and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dom, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?

"I think it depends on the individual and the goals they’re trying to achieve. When it comes to my music, I really do have a belief I will get to where I want to go. I’ve had very clear goals outlined and know what it will take to get there. At this point, it’s not IF, but WHEN I’ll achieve those goals. What separates the ones that make it, in my opinion, is that they did not give up. Maybe it’s some stubbornness involved, but I don’t see myself giving up after coming this far. The love for what I do and my determination to live out my dreams are some of the driving forces to keep me going. It’s not easy and will take years to get there for me(including myself), but I want to succeed so much that giving up does not cross my mind."

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?

"Before I began creating myself, I have always had a love for music. When I was younger, I would sneak into my older brother’s room to listen to his many albums. Artists like Missy Elliot, Aaliyah, Nas, Slum Village, and many others created my love for music. I transitioned from drawing to wanting to make music during high school. After graduating, I spent three years working on my songwriting, flow, and overall confidence before recording. It was a very unconventional approach, but I believe it set up for success and showed how serious I was about my craft."

"I released my first mixtape in 2011 and coming up on the tenth anniversary of the release. With almost a decade into this, I’ve been blessed to be featured on local and nationally known websites, perform at festivals, work with artists/producers I’m a fan of, and much more. However, the journey has been far from easy and only have scratched the surface of my dreams."

"Throughout the years, I have always kept a 9-5 and have never been able to pursue my creative passions full-time. However, recently, I have taken a leap of faith and quit my job to honestly give myself a chance to pursue my dreams. Having 40 hours a week to something you’re not passionate about was draining, and I reached my breaking point. There’s definitely risk involved, but is outweighed by my desire to succedd and give myself the best shot in music."

"My brand AfterhOurz encompasses that mentality, wanting people to be go-getters, chasing their dreams. If you know what your purpose in this world is, work to get there. It will not be easy, and every obstacle will be thrown your way, but finding that happiness is the key to life."

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

"Whew, I feel Columbus is one of those cities where not many outside Ohio know much about it. It depends on what you’re into and looking for, but we have a good amount of restaurants, concerts, art and more worth seeing."

"I actually had a friend visit from NYC a few years ago and took them around to many spots. If they visit again, I would first take them to this vegan restaurant called Willowbeez. They’re black-owned and provide fantastic soul food but in a vegan way. From there, we can grab a drink at Bottle Shop or Tavern(located in Olde Towne East)and see a show at Ace of Cups."

"Before they leave, Parable Coffee would deliver their coffee fix. The Columbus Museum of arts would be the last stop before heading to the airport. This is just a very small sample of some things to do around here."

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?

"There are so many people in my life that influence or inspire me every single day. I’m blessed to have a great core of friends(many of them are creatives) who keep me grounded and inspired. Shoutout to all my homies in our group chat. Throughout this wild year, 1/2, y’all have helped keep me sane. Love y’all!" - ShoutoutLA

"Maintainin’ Sees Dom Deshawn Putting His Relentless Flow on Display"

Columbus, Ohio-based Dom Deshawn’s newest release Maintainin’ is a seven-song project that takes listeners on a journey of the artist’s life from the last year-plus. With introspective lyrics, the project touches on love, living through a pandemic, depression, racial injustice, and a slew of other events that shaped his year. Although a relatively darker record from previous releases, the Columbus, OH upstart still sprinkles in a little bit of hope, essentially saying, “I know times are hard now, but we’ll get through this. For now, I’m just maintainin’ trying to get through today.”

At 19 minutes in streaming length, the record is full of forward-thinking hip-hop bangers that are sure to be instant-adds to your rotation. The track title and intro cut feature Dom’s signature flow over calm production, painting vivid pictures with his lyrics. In its entirety, Maintainin’ is everything you would want from a talented upcoming hip-hop act in 2021. Each track on this project is bursting with Dom’s personality, making for more of a personal project allowing us into his world, even if it’s for a brief period.

Dom’s music reflects both an immense amount of talent as well as an undeniably fun and unique personality. With each release, we get Dom’s clever writing, impressive ear for production, and every track he makes is a strong showcase of everything the next generation of rappers has to offer. - SwidLife

"Dom Deshawn pulls the camera in closer for his revealing new album"

Rapper Dom Deshawn has always been a visual creator, modeling releases such as Longest Night Saga, from 2019, after prestige television programs, the album’s tracks unfolding like studio-lit episodes. New album Maintainin’ is similarly ambitious though necessarily less polished, drawing inspiration from cinema verite, where the camera pulls in a bit closer, lingers a bit longer and exacts footage that captures the raw, unvarnished experience of existence.

Written and recorded amid a global pandemic and a renewed civil rights movement, Maintainin’ traces Deshawn’s experiences amid a year of lockdowns, relationship upheaval and the struggle to keep moving forward against these accumulating personal and societal drags. “Feeling disengaged,” he raps on “High Speed," a song on which he struggles to get beyond first gear, a few bars later adding, “Hard for me to even get out of bed.”

Regardless, throughout the album Deshawn keeps picking himself up, keeps moving forward, continually “hoping I can find a smile,” as he raps on “Smilez.”

“To be honest with you, until the fall of last year, my motivation to record and make music just wasn’t there,” said Deshawn, who released Maintainin’ to digital services today (Tuesday, Aug. 24). “I would do things casually here and there, but between the pandemic and dealing with how wild last summer was with the [Black lives matter] protests, I just had to take some time and find some sanity.”

Amid all of this, the rapper also ended a romantic relationship whose demise was undoubtedly hastened by the pandemic and the attendant pressures exacted by stay-at-home orders, which robbed both partners of outside pressure release valves.

“It was hard dealing with a breakup in the middle of a pandemic, where I couldn’t even be like, ‘Oh, let me go be around friends so I can be around some good energy,’” said Deshawn, who explores the split on “Bulma & Yamcha,” a mature take on which he shoulders his share of the blame for the relationship’s dissolution. “For me, it was like, ‘Yo, as much as this hurts, I think we should step away.’ I don’t ever want to be in a situation where we’re still together and it’s super toxic and it ruins the friendship. I’m glad we ended things where there was no bitterness or bad blood.”

This didn’t make the breakup any easier, though, particularly with it landing at a time when Deshawn didn’t have another shoulder to lean on. “I was only going to her house and my place [during stay-at-home orders],” said Deshawn, who turned to video games and pro wrestling as a means of escape during that time. “So after we broke up, I was stuck inside by myself for two months, where I literally wasn’t going anywhere.”

There was a benefit to this extended quarantine, however, as Deshawn started to again engage with recording, investing in his own studio equipment and beginning work on a series of raw-nerve tracks on which he started to unpack recent life events. “And, I mean, obviously I had a lot to talk about,” he said.

While the vibe could have been unbearably downcast, there’s an undercurrent of hope that surfaces both in Deshawn’s words — on “Above Water” he raps about fighting to keep his head atop the rising currents — and in the beats, which sometimes offer a twinkling counterpoint to the ominous, surrounding skies.

“With older Black folks, especially my parents and grandparents … if you ask them, ‘Yo, how are you doing?’ A lot of times they say, ‘You know, maintaining, hanging in there,” Deshawn said. “That was my rationale for naming the project Maintainin', because there were so many things going on in my life, but I know we’re going to get through this at some point. … But until then, I’m maintaining, I’m getting through.”

It’s an attitude reflected in Deshawn’s decision to follow the song “Fin” (there are those cinematic references again) with the album-closing “Story Begins,” which serves as an after-credits scene, of sorts, pointing a way out of the darkness. “This is not my end,” he raps. “It’s more where my story begins.”

“I didn’t want it to feel all bad; I wanted there to be some light at the end of the tunnel,” Deshawn said. “And, also, for me, it was like I had been through all of this stuff, but I have so much of my story left, and so much life ahead of me. … I know we’ve been through a lot, and things look bleak, but I’m still here. This is not my end.” - Columbus Alive

"Dom Deshawn drops new groovy single "That LOOK" for the ladies Read more at"

Columbus native Dom Deshawn returns with a groovy single titled "That LOOK". This song is his first release since his 'Before Sunset ' EP that dropped in the fall of 2016. Dom Deshawn teams up with producer KMB who lays a funk laden and highly groovy backdrop that screams candlelights and red wine. On the subject matter, Dom details his various encounters with different women from his own unique perspective. He also brings fellow Ohioian rapper Sarob to add that extra flavor to the head-nodding track.
"That LOOK" is taken from his upcoming project 'AfterhOurz' that is destined to see the light of day at the end of December 2018.

Read more at - Earmilk

"Dom Deshawn FT. Sarob - That LOOK"

This is a product of three Ohioans that make sultry sounds consistently. Dom Deshawn taps Sarob for the KMB-produced heater, "That LOOK". Dom possesses cool confidence on here, but instead of reaching into the current spectrum of music, he decides to take it back with something to two-step to. Sarob also goes off on this record, this team should extend this collaboration into a full-length project. KMB is truly one of the best producers out of Ohio. His versatility doesn't ever let him get boxed in by the world of repetitive claps and 808s. This track slaps, don't sleep on the guys who curated this magic. - AnimalXHouse

"Watch: Dom Deshawn's "Gotta Get It" The Source"

Ohio’s own Dom Deshawn returns today with a new visual off of his last release, Moods and Interludes, to hold fans over til the release of the Noir EP. The Jay Swifa produced track, “Gotta Get It,” finds Dom in a most ambitious state.

Travis Sims was behind the lens for this video, which was edited and directed by Dom himself.

Be on the look out for more from this talented upstart as he prepares to release his Noir EP, inspired by classic noir films. - The Source

"Dom Deshawn releases AfterhOurz"

Sonically, AfterhOurz, the long-in-the-works new EP from rapper Dom Deshawn, suggests a modern update on a Prohibition-era speakeasy, the musician dropping his verses atop a smoky musical backdrop steeped in vintage jazz and soul.

The recording’s late-night feel is partially fueled by the hours Deshawn, an admitted night owl, logs while working second shift at a warehouse. The musician’s typical workday runs from 2:30 p.m. until 11 p.m., meaning it’s not unusual for him to order his first round at the bar when most are cashing out and heading home. The shadowy vibe was further shaped by Deshawn’s fondness for classic Hollywood films such as “Casablanca,” the likes of which formed the basis for a since-scrapped recording dubbed The Noir EP that he started in earnest in 2014.

While Deshawn never finished the planned EP, some of its themes and sonic details surface on AfterhOurz, a loose concept record centered on the action at a fictional Columbus night club.

“I thought of [AfterhOurz] as an actual place, and I wanted [the music] to have that feel to it,” said Deshawn, 27, who will perform an album release show at Two Truths on Friday, Dec. 29. “With everything from the [album] artwork to the release event, I wanted to build on that concept.”

The rapper’s lyrics, however, are based in day-to-day realities rather than imagined hot spots, with Deshawn detailing the struggles of working a blue-collar job and inviting listeners along for low-key bar hangs centered on observation and introspection rather than splashing the club in Cristal.

A handful of verses also touch on relationships and love, subjects as timeless as the musical guideposts that form the backbone of the EP — “You can listen to a song from 1960 or ’70 talking about love and still completely relate to it,” Deshawn said — and long a staple in the rapper’s down-to-Earth lyrical approach.

“When I sit down to write a song, I can’t write about shit I’m not going through or that I can’t relate to,” Deshawn said. “A lot of the artists I really love, and the music I really love from them, is from before they made it, where they’re living a regular life and speaking on those subjects. I know sometimes we love living vicariously through artists ... but, for me, the ones I really relate to are the ones who are talking about what I go through on a daily basis. I try to keep a focus on my life to a point where it’s almost a verbal journal. I can listen to old projects and know exactly where I was in that moment.”

In recent years, this has meant a lot of hours logged in the warehouse, which informs the working man blues of “Second Shift Struggle,” and, in a sense, the entirety of AfterhOurz, a bulk of which Deshawn composed while on the clock.

“We’re allowed to listen to music at work, so if there’s a song I’m working on, I’ll have my headphones in and I’ll have the beat playing, and I’ll build,” said Deshawn, who estimated he does 80 percent of his writing in this manner. “There are little to no distractions at work. There are no TVs, and I’m not allowed to be on my cellphone. Being shut off from the world helps me focus.” - Columbus Alive

"Dom Deshawn gives us his new project w/ Moods & Interludes"

Dom Deshawn has dropped his newest project, titled Moods & Interludes. The 12-track tape features guest verses from Curtis Williams, Cecilia Edoja and more, as well as production from Nate Fox, Brandun Deshay, TrapMoneyBenny & Fly Union’s Jay Swifa. Moods & Interludes is a personal & introspective project, showing Dom’s vulnerable side as he reflects on what it takes to make it in the rap world and the changes he’s going through on his way to the top. - Respect

"New Release: AfterhOurz Anthem"

Columbus, Ohio emcee, Dom DeShawn comes to TRUE with a dope single entitled, “Afterhourz Anthem.” Be on the look out for more new material from Dom DeShawn coming soon. Check out his manifesto below of what inspired him to write “Afterhourz Anthem.” - TRUE MAGAZINE

"Dom Deshawn Digs Into The Vaults & Liberates ‘#OldSongsFromMyEmail’ EP"

I’ve been familiar with Columbus native Dom Deshawn for quite some time now, probably close to three years. Where the hell does time go? Anyway, before I head off on a weeks break I am trying to post everything I can and checking my email I saw an email from my guy Dom.

I used to get all Dom’s music via a PR but Dom actually reached out himself to not only thank me (he a real one) but to also fill me in with the latest. It comes in the shape of a six track EP, composed of records that Dom has had sat in the vaults for a while, I love this concept. Production on the EP comes from Jamla’s Eric G, Curtis Williams, 14KT and a few others. No guest features just an artist putting it all on the table over some nostalgic instrumentals. Too real for this Friday night. -


Inspired by the vintage noir film genre, Dom Deshawn is set to release his “NOIR“ EP later this spring. Fresh off his “NOIR EP” photoshoot, Dom laces us with “Listic Muzik,” which is the first single from the project, and is produced by Curtis Williams of Two-9. - Respect-Mag

"Dom Deshawn gets "ILL" on new record | The Source"

Columbus, Ohio’s own Dom Deshawn keeps his Noir EP project campaign going strong, releasing the second single. This track sees Dom coming harder than ever before, showing off his versatility. “ILL” is produced by another Columbus, OH native rapper/producer, P Blackk, and Dom rides the menacing beat with skill. Listeners can expect the Noir EP to drop sometime next month, with production from Curtis Williams, Willie B (J Cole’s “03′ Adolescence”), P Blackk and more. - The Source

"YHTN(You Heard That New)"

Ohio native Dom Deshawn is back today and drops off a new visual for his upcoming project “Moods & Interludes”. Cecilia Edoja lends her dope vocals on the hook as Dom uses the video to ‘Keep It Real’ with his girlfriend. - Blanco

"Free Album Review"

Dom Deshawn is the type of rapper you grow to love, because he says a lot of things relatable to your life. This is not an artist you turn up to in the club. This is someone you listen to on the bus heading to work staring out the window, or even when you smoke because he’s got that relaxing vibe. He’s a human who reflects on relationships, trying to make it, and other topics in his music. He does so in a professional sounding manner as Moods & Interludes is the prime example.

The 12-track free album comes with features from Curtis Williams and AB. Production from known names like Brandun Deshay, Swiff D, DK, Nate Fox and more. Records like “Keep It Real” and “Cruise Control” stand out after a few listens, but that doesn’t stop the entire project from working well as a cohesive effort. - Sermon's Domain

"Columbus Alive Interview/Review"

Dom Deshawn approaches music like a film director working behind the camera, visualizing entire scenes unfolding in his songs every time he touches pen to paper.

“Almost any time I work on music I get some type of visual from it,” said the rapper, born Dominique Mattox 24 years ago, who celebrates the release of his latest mixtape, Moods & Interludes. “Sometimes I’ll even add sound effects … to help capture that [scene] for the listener.”

Witness “Cruise Control,” which opens with the sounds of footsteps and a car engine firing before Deshawn launches into the first verse: “Cruising downtown looking for the nearest exit…”

Rather than crafting some Michael Bay-esque, widescreen blockbuster, however, the MC’s latest plays like an independent relationship drama, with Deshawn breezing through an assortment of rich, soulful songs borne of heartache, confusion, jealousy and lust. At times the album mimics a tumultuous romantic split, with the rapper wavering between resentment (“How You Feel?” could alternately be titled “I Know You Regret Leaving Me”) and acceptance (the sweet, swooning “Far Side (Remix)”) over the course of a dozen deeply felt cuts.

“When it comes to music, the most personal stuff, and the stuff you really need to get off your mind, leads to the best songs,” said Deshawn, who grew up in Reynoldsburg with a father who worked for a delivery company and a mother employed in the pharmaceutical industry. “When I was 21 I had a situation with a girl, but instead of being depressed I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to start recording.’ And my whole first mixtape was me trying to get [that relationship] off my chest.”

While Moods & Interludes is similarly rooted in romantic dissolution (Deshawn said a bulk of the songs were written about one woman, who remains a friend), the rapper directs more of his ire inward this time around. On songs like “The Transition,” he struggles with questions of identity and self, and a consistent refrain throughout is “What type of person do I want to become?”

“I was looking at different angles of my life and putting myself in the mindset of ‘When I get to where I want to be, am I going to be the type of person who changes completely? Or will I keep to my roots?’” said Deshawn, who was inspired to take up music after being exposed to the likes of Nas, J Dilla and Slum Village as a teenager. “I’m generally a shy person, but when it comes to my music for some reason I like putting all of my life out there. It’s something I can’t really explain; it’s like an out of body experience. I’m the quiet type, but I always have a lot going on in my mind.” - Columbus Alive

"Moods & Interlude"

Ohio native Dom Deshawn unloads his latest body of work entitled Moods & Interludes. The 12-track tape features guest verses from Curtis Williams, Cecilia Edoja and more, as well as production from Nate Fox, Brandun Deshay, TrapMoneyBenny & Fly Union‘s Jay Swifa.

Moods & Interludes is a personal & introspective project, showing Dom’s vulnerable side as he reflects on what it takes to make it in the rap world and the changes he’s going through on his way to the top. - HiphopSinc1987


Still working on that hot first release.



Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Dom Deshawn (born Dominique Mattox) grew up listening to artists such as Missy Elliott, Nas, Slum Village, Little Brother, and Aaliyah. Dom has continuously developed and released new projects since his first mixtape, A Work in Progress, in 2011. With Moods & Interludes(2014), Before Sunset(2016) and AfterhOurz (2017), Dom has received critical reception, being featured in Columbus Alive and performing nationally in cities such as LA and Chicago. In AfterhOurz, he collaborated with fellow Ohio artists Sarob and KMB for a smooth track that explores romantic encounters through the eyes of Dom and Sarob.

The rapper has branched out to different forms of media, as he also began writing a spec script. His mastery and fluidity to oscillate between wide ranges of media are reflected in his project, Longest Night Saga(2019). Taking on the form of a television series, the songs were released on streaming sites one episode per week. Complete with segments shot by artist and filmmaker Cameron Granger, his latest EP presents a captivating visualization of events that unfold over a single night.

Dom Deshawn's newest release, Maintainin', takes listeners on a journey of the artist's life from the last year-plus, including a breakup, living through a pandemic, depression, racial injustice, watching anime, and a slew of other events that shaped his year. Although a relatively darker record from previous releases, the Columbus, OH native still sprinkles in a little bit of hope, essentially saying, "I know times are hard now, but we'll get through this. For now, I'm just maintainin' trying to get through today." 

Band Members