Tribute to MF Doom

By Dev



I consider myself to be a lifelong hip hop fan. I was literally raised on this culture and sadly an important part of my upbringing as a music listener and hip fan has passed away. That would be MF DOOM. According to an Instagram post we got from his wife on New Year’s Eve, he passed away on Halloween. While this is a tremendous loss to the culture, I can’t help but thinking that us not knowing he’s been gone for over two months is one last mysterious prank from DOOM.


On a personal note, I was introduced to DOOM’s music at a perfect time in 2005. DOOM had dropped two classics (in my opinion) in MM...Food and Madvillainy with Madlib the previous year. I was 6 years old around this time and another major influence in my life would enter in comic books. DOOM's supervillain persona mixed with his sampling of Fantastic Four cartoons left me fascinated because I truly didn’t understand his genius at this point. As I got older and my taste in music developed, DOOM remained a constant in my music library. I would go back to his work every so often and pick up something new whether it be on the production side or with his wordplay. From my teenage years into adulthood, I grew to understand that MF DOOM was much more than a character that Daniel Dumile portrayed and the persona was rather the manifestation of his experiences in the music industry.

It’s a little known fact that DOOM experienced some brief success in music before donning the mask as a part of a group called KMD along with his brother DJ Subroc. Like many other hip hop acts in the early 90’s, they promoted Afro-Centrism, but the way they went about it was much more gritty and unedited in comparison to their contemporaries. DOOM, then known as Zev Love X and his brother DJ Subroc, planned to drop an even darker second album titled Black Bastards with the intended cover being a black sambo caricature being hung. This album would not see a major release as the label Elektra would drop the group. Around the same time, DOOM’s brother and partner in music would die in a car accident. As stated in several songs throughout DOOM’s discography, this loss had an incredible effect on his life and career and after his brother’s death in 1993, he wouldn’t return to the music world until 1999. This time it would be as the Super Villain.


MF Doom holds a special place for me not only for his contributions in music, but for some awesome childhood memories he was a part of. My dad was the one who put me onto him during one of my first times meeting him and he played MM...Food for me literally every time I saw him after that. When I was in the 3rd grade, my music teacher would let us bring our own music if it was appropriate and would print out lyrics for us to sing along. I begged my dad to burn a copy of MM...Food for me to take to class and he did. When the teacher played the CD, all that played were the random skits that are on that album and I along with everyone else was confused. Obviously the music teacher didn’t let me bring anymore music after that.


Those were some of my personal experiences as a fan, but I also wanted to go over some of my favorite albums and songs from MF DOOM’s discography. I will say I’ll only be covering his rap albums though I highly recommend you check out his Special Herbs series of instrumental albums. There are like 10 volumes worth of beats and some of your favorite rappers have used them.

Madvillainy 

-While I have a lot of nostalgia and love for MM...Food, the MF DOOM album that has influenced me the most is MadVillainy. This is a collaborative project with Madlib taking on a bulk of the production and I have to say even with my bias, this is a bonafide classic album. I say that with no asterisk. This isn’t a classic mixtape or underground project. From beginning to end, this is an amazing album. Accordions (phenomenal beat), Raid, Curls, the comedic Operation Lifesaver, the Adult Swim classics Strange Ways and Fancy Clown, and who could forget the masterpiece that is Rhinestone Cowboy? You can’t go wrong with Madvillainy. My hope is a legit sequel exists, and not the 2008 remix album that was labeled Part 2. 

MM…Food 

-Now for obvious reasons, my second favorite DOOM album is MM…Food. While most of his albums are narratives based around the persona he’s portraying, this album is a concept album based all around food. Every verse is riddled with food references whether it’s something common everyone can get or stuff that’s specific to just New York. What I love about this album is how he manages to compare all these food references to the flashy rappers of the time and the music industry as a whole. "Beef Rapp" may be my favorite intro of all time which is why I used the beat on my first mixtape. The beat is ominous and DOOM immediately sets the stage with top tier bars (as you should on the intro). Again, this is another DOOM project I can play top to bottom. I’ve gotten several people hip to his music by playing "Hoe Cakes", "One Beer", "Kon Karne", "Kon Queso", and "Vomitspit". This is a fun project and then when you add in the bizarre skits, you have an album with a lot of replay value. Although I rank Madvillainy higher, I definitely come back to MM...Food more.

Born Like This

 


-I also recommend you seek out Born Like This which dropped in 2009. By this point, DOOM was acknowledged as more than an underground figure in hip hop and this project is a culmination of that success. This album is laced with production from J. Dilla and feature from some of my other favorite rappers Raekwon and Ghostface Killa. Angelz is fire, Yessir is fire and Lightworks is a dope glimpse of what could’ve been from two of the most underrated artists in hip hop who are now deceased.

Operation DOOMsday 


-If you’re wanting to learn more about the elusive DOOM, it’s best to start with his first solo album Operation DOOMsday. While you can certainly tell this is his first album, it’s still a worthwhile listen as he provides more insight into his life than he ever would. The song “?” featuring Kurious is a tribute to the fallen DJ Subroc. DOOM also gives a brief summary of what he had been up to on “The Mic”.

As an independent artist, Doom jumped around a number of labels including Stones Throw and Rhymesayers and he really had the ability to move how he wanted. With that said, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite DOOM loosies and features.

The first one I think you should check out is "Benetton" by Kurious featuring DOOM and MC Serch. This track is very introspective and full circle in several ways. DOOM as a part of KMD was featured on 3rd Bass’s hit "The Gas Face" and Kurious was in a group with DOOM’s brother called Constipated Monkey. Kurious would also go on to feature in one DOOM first and one of his most popular music videos “?”. It is interesting hearing their own testimonies of making it in music and surviving the industry.

Another one is "My Favorite Ladies". When it comes to clever wordplay, here you go. DOOM goes through this whole song describing women of different ethnicities and compares them to the types of drugs he’s tried. Perhaps a little too descriptive, but still clever nonetheless.


As far as features, The Supervillain has worked with a slew of legends. His appearances are on the following are unmatched: 

De La Soul - Rock Cocaine Flow

Gorillaz - November Has Come

Busta Rhymes - In The Streets

Talib Kweli - Fly That Knot

And the list goes on.



The point in all that I’ve said is that Doom was a tremendous talent in both production and rapping who was a prime example of moving in the music industry on your own terms. He will be missed greatly. Thank you for watching. More content on the way that will be in a more upbeat tone. Check out my website tinyurl.com/devgotthehookup to access all my projects. 

-Dev

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