This Tampa, Florida hip-hop artist was born Dominique Lashawn Clark in 1991 and was just 12 when she was invited to record at local duo Yo! Majesty's studio, which was not far from her home. Even at this early age she was realistic enough to recognize that her strengths lay in rapping rather than singing, and talent spotter and producer David Alexander -- also linked with Yo! Majesty -- soon took her under his wing. Her first EP on Alexander's Art Jam label appeared in 2009, and the following year the same label released and widely promoted her debut mixtape, Domination. In 2010 she made her first appearance at SXSW in Austin, Texas, and she returned to the festival the following year, performing a much more prestigious set before going on to release two more mixtapes, Glamorous Touch and Stupid Pretty. She also took a diversion into modeling in 2011, appearing on the catwalk in London to promote a collection by Kanye West-backed designer Katie Eary.
Although 2012 was a quiet year for Dominique Young Unique in the studio, she kept the momentum going in her music career by performing live internationally, supporting Scissor Sisters in London, and making appearances at major European festivals. It was in Europe that she first achieved chart success, initially in the form of a guest spot on "Earthquake," a fierce and assertive slice of electro from DJ Fresh and Diplo that became a Top Five single in the U.K. in August 2013. The comparatively funky "Dance with Me" -- a collaboration with Le Youth (aka Wes James) -- also hit the upper reaches of the U.K. singles chart in February 2014 and, within days of its release, "Throw It Down," the debut major-label solo single from Dominique Young Unique, became available to stream online. ~ James Wilkinson