Bands to Watch: Rapper Dominique Larue gets personal

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive

Like a veteran circus performer, Dominique Larue has developed a knack for juggling.

The rapper currently has multiple projects in the works, including a long-simmering album recorded alongside producer J. Rawls and a planned collaboration with Queen Latifah protégé Monie Love (the two were scheduled to record together in Rawls' Pickerington studio in late January). She's also started pitching songs to film and television, landing tracks on programs like MTV's "True Life," the mixed martial arts series "Road to the Octagon," and Stephen Merchant's "Hello Ladies: The Movie." Additionally, Larue has already sketched the outline for her next full-length pairing with Kansas City producer D/Will, tentatively titled Happiness Is Imminent, which she described as her most personal album to date.

In many ways, Larue's rise as an MC has coincided with an ever-increasing ability to drop her guard. While her earliest verses tended toward verbal boasts, recent material has exhibited newfound vulnerability, with the rapper touching on family members lost ("Attucks" pays tribute to Larue's late grandmother) and those new to the fold ("Feels Good," inspired by the birth of her son). Her forthcoming solo album continues this revealing track, with Larue writing songs rooted in emotionally burdensome subjects like suicide and depression.

"After I had my son I went through postpartum depression, and when you're not in control of your emotions it's the worst thing ever," Larue said in an early January interview at a Bexley coffee shop. "The whole time I'm thinking to myself, 'This is dumb. I'm acting very irrational, but I can't control it.' That's one thing I wanted to capture: Depression is chemical. It's not something you can simply talk yourself out of."

Though Larue describes herself as an "intensely private person," she approaches even her most confessional verses fearlessly, saying, "At the end of the day, I know anything I go through someone else has already been through as well, and someone out there can relate."

This even includes issues of domestic abuse, which will form the backbone of the sure-to-be harrowing Happiness Is Imminent.

"I went through domestic violence, and I feel like women have to hear about it because it is a reality," Larue said. "I'm really not sure how [my ex] is going to feel about it, and I don't really care, to be honest. It's called Happiness Is Imminent because that's how I felt going through it. It was like, 'There's going to be a day where everything is going to be alright.' And that day finally came. And it's still here."

Columbus Alive's Bands To Watch 2015

Skully's Music-Diner

9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31

1151 N. High St., Short North