The Underrated: Madlib and MF Doom's Madvillainy

By @1natethegreat4 

1. The Illest Villains
2. Accordion 
3. Meat Grinder
4. Bistro
5. Raid
6. America's Most Blunted
7. Sickfit
8. Rainbows 
9. Curls
10. Do Not Fire
11. Money Folder
12. Shadows of Tomorrow 
13. Operation Lifesaver aka Mint Test
14. Figaro
15. Hardcore Hustle
16. Strange Ways 
17. Fancy Clown 
18. Eye
19. Supervillain Theme
20. All Caps 
21. Great Day 
22. Rhinestone Cowboy

I’ve stated my personal opinion on MF DOOM in a previous DAR article. MF DOOM is an amazing artist and Madlib is an amazing producer, so why not collaborate with Madlib? Well they did, and “Madvillainy” is the first debut album for the two artists. This album is dope hands down. It’s one of my favorite albums of all time, almost in my top ten. The production on this album from Madlib is spectacular and both artists' lyricism is delivered in a calm, meaningful manner. Let’s go by the tracks and see what this album is all about.

Let’s begin with “The Illest Villains”. It begins eerily with futuristic tones. You also get that feel of an old TV set with the old-school TV shows commentary. “Accordion” warms up the listener to hear DOOM spit his flow in a technical matter.  We listen to symbolic and ambiguous lines alternate throughout the track and we nod in approval that it’s alright. It’s a very chill track altogether, just like “Meat Grinder”. “Meat Grinder” carries a similar vibe in the beginning of the track, but when the beat changes, prepare yourself. It’s rhythmic bass guitars layered with 60’s cartoon samples shows great mixing on the production aspect. DOOM’s flow bites against the beat and abolishes the beat fundamentals with an edgy vibe in a soft spoken voice.

“Bistro” is our first interlude where it provides a smooth upbeat R&B jam to begin with MF DOOM speaking to the listener to relax and enjoy the ride as he is our host for the album. Dedications to many people in the album shows a generous side of DOOM as he has been self-portrayed as a cold-blooded rapper.

We resume back into the gist of the album with the next song “Raid”. The beat starts at andante, but we experiment to an allergo on the beat. MF DOOM steals this song because the subtle double and triple entendres that you don’t notice on the first listen like:

“How DOOM hold heat, but preach non-violence”


“About the buttery flow, he need to cut the ego/trippin”

I also personally liked M.E.D’s energized delivery in his verse. "America’s Most Blunted” is dope with the ode to marijuana. A garage like experimental beat underneath DOOM’s reversal to his strict rhyming scheme, as he falls on the beat in this track. We hear Madlib deliver in a sound that is not truly him. A similar style that sounds like DOOM, but the comical, Sesame Street type of outro is hilarious. “Sickfit” is an interlude with a hypnotic guitar and ambiguous background of layered sounds. “Rainbows” is the strangest track on the album. It’s just a puzzled mess of DOOM singing in the soprano octave, abstract jazz instrumentals, and a steady bass guitar riff.

“Curls” possesses a small calypso beat, but this solidifies DOOM’s super villain status quo. Intimidating lyricism in soft spoken demeanor like

“Villains get the money like curls/ They are just trying to get a nut like squirrels/
In his mad world/”

MF DOOM describes how he will steal to get what he wants. That he is a proven veteran with years in the rap game, a force to be reckoned with, and DOOM will remind the listener of all this if they take him for a joke. “Do Not Fire!” is comical, aesthetics, and melancholy all in one album.

“Money Talker” is one of my favorite songs on the album. It’s subtle production that allows Dumile to reiterate his prowess in the rap game. He shows he is an enigma to the rap game in his second verse with an arsenal rhyme scheme. This is one track I noticed that DOOM and Madlib experienced a great time with humorous lyrics and a softer beat to let DOOM shine. Well played. “Shadows of Tomorrow” is a Madlib only track. Headspinning lyricism with a noisy beat. Madlib rises solo with his expertise to lyrically deliver alternating sounds in two different verses. A powerful message in both verses. The first verse talks about the past and the present with the feeling of regret. The transition to the second verse in a different voice is interesting. The second voice talking about the future and the ideology of a “perfect man” and how breaking one of these vows ruins the perfect man.

You want a funny track to listen to? Listen to “Operation Lifesaver”. She needs a mint as MF DOOM can’t stand a female that looks like a dime, but she has bad breath. His distaste for the flaw in a woman is strong as a mint... if you see what I did there. Get that girl a mint! Please.

“Figaro” holds a 2000s rap battle beat and this track here, I absolutely love it. In Figaro, multi-syllabic rhyme and technical delivery makes this track un-skippable. “Hardcore Hustle” continues this and follows the same feel as Figaro.  “Strange Ways” and “Fancy Clowns” need to be analyzed together, as we hear beautiful samples on both songs and although DOOM deserves credit, Madlib’s beat that he formulated here is genius. “Eye” is a instrumental with Stacey Epps, nothing eye-popping to me. “Super villain Theme” is another interlude.

“All Caps” is a moving track where beautiful production and superb lyricism unites and blesses the ears. It’s a blessing to hear this track and it’s my favorite song. “Great Day” is a wavy track on all aspects and I could reference this track from top to bottom, and I won’t hold you up to the ending. “Rhinestone Cowboy” ends this album with more wavy vibes and DOOM doing what he does best. DOOM has always been known for his reference and conscious underground rap scheme and he continues this path in this song.

This album is a beautiful album. The only track I feel that stands out in a bad way on this album is Eye. This album, needs to be inserted into your daily playlist as I feel this thrives in  segments. It’s not as cohesive to me, yet it flows well, but that’s my take. A great listen to if you are into MF DOOM or are a newcomer. Madlib shows us again why he called himself a “DJ first, producer second, and MC last”.



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