One of the best lyrical tracks in Hip Hop, bar none. In 2006 Doom hosted the adult swim Christmas special and he could be seen in between shows, usually talking about what was up next, and making jokes.
mf doom no mask – The Misunderstanding Of MF Doom
On 9-1-1971 Mf Doom (nickname: Mf Doom) was born in London, England. In a matter of time this success collapsed in on KMD, as Subroc was struck and killed by a car in 1993, just on the verge of their second album Black Bastards’ release. The group was unceremoniously dropped by their label, Elektra Records, the same week, and the album was shelved due to controversial content and cover art. (Though would later become legendary in underground circles through extensive bootlegging, eventually being reissued in 2008.) Broken from the death of his brother and the music industry’s betrayal towards him, Dumile would go into hiding to lick his wounds, and plan revenge.
A signature DOOM track, with has him free-associating all over the place. One of the best lyrical tracks in Hip Hop, bar none. He was born Daniel Dumile; his mother gave him the nickname “Doom” as a child. His older brother is DJ Subroc.
Even though he was conceived in the States and had spent the vast majority of his life there starting at a very young age, DOOM was born in London – and United States Immigration figured that since DOOM hadn’t officially applied for citizenship, the end of DOOM’s 2010 European tour would be a fine time to refuse him entry back into America.
Doom: That preacher type of thing at the beginning was Gylan Kain. Subroc was using his Dead Roach alias on his verse there. He used that alias a lot, but not really on any records. That was out before the Elektra shit happened, I think they had pressed about 20,000 copies. We even did a video for it. That was a filtered bassline, Sub was using that technique a lot. A lot of those were sampled notes, played in a certain order. We made a video for that song. It was real ill. I know I got a copy of it somewhere.
DOOM’s a super-villain so he’s just calling his enemies gay — talking shit. Matter of fact, there’s a song on Madvillian where the character talks about beastiality even. So you’re telling me people who indulge in beastiality are gonna get mad at me now too laughs? It’s a character. People who don’t get it, I don’t know what’s wrong with them. Just go to the movies. It’s easy. It’s like John Travolta in Pulp Fiction. I loved him in that movie, but that doesn’t mean I agree with murder though. We all know John Travolta isn’t a murderer don’t we? It’s a character. I don’t know what else to say to people who don’t get that.
I gave it to Starks without the drums, and he’s one of those rappers that can just spit over it without hearing drums. Certain niggas is nice like that. So the first version is actually unfinished because I didn’t get to put the drums on it laughs. So I just released this version as the album version”. People tend to lean toward the first version because that’s the first one they heard and they’re used to it. I hear people be like why’d he changed it?” but they don’t realize that it was just a sketch that they happen to catch a glimpse of.
Today’s music landscape consists of a wellspring of lofi producers who pull from old jazz samples and hip-hop beats to create a vision of their perfect backing soundtrack. Freddie Joachim is a producer in a class all his own. Born in the Philippines and raised in San Diego, California, Joachim’s music career started as a passion. An avid collector of hip-hop, jazz, and soul records, Joachim first began djing in the ’90s which inevitably led to a career as a full-fledged producer. Holding true to the iconic sounds that originally piqued his interest in music, his production talents have been sought out by the likes of J. Cole, Aloe Blacc, and Joey Bada$$. If there is music made to study, and relax to, it is Joachim’s.
MF Doom the character was born out of pain. Real pain. The pain of loss and the pain of rejection. Hiding behind that mask wasn’t a joke, it wasn’t an act. It was an alter-ego wrought out of necessity.
With the album in limbo, Dumile went underground for five years, “recovering from his wounds” and swearing revenge “against the industry that so badly deformed him,” according to his official bio, a reworking of Dr. Doom’s origin. Meanwhile, Bl_ck B_st_rds was heavily bootlegged and Zev Love’s legend grew, but few knew at first that the rapper who began showing up at the Nuyorican Poets Café in 1997, freestyling with a stocking covering his face, was actually Zev. The imaginative MC finally ended the mystery in 1999, resurfacing in his new identity as MF Doom and making up for lost time with a critically praised album, Operation: Doomsday, on the indie label Fondle ‘Em Records The following year saw the long-awaited official release of Bl_ck B_st_rds (complete with Sambo-style cover art), as well as several singles and an EP with fellow rhymer MF Grimm In 2001, SubVerse re-released Operation: Doomsday and Bl_ck B_st_rds.
Some artists were just born to work together When their paths eventually cross, they bring out the best in each other and form a unit greater than the sum of its parts. In 2004, that duo was MF DOOM and Madlib.
Both of these artists rarely speak to press about their music. However, DOOM gave a recent and rare interview to Spin‘s Will Gottsegen about the 2004 Stones Throw album. He recalled its creation and discussed the unreleased follow-up material he has made with Madlib. DOOM also speaks at length about his late son, King Malachi Dumile, who died in late 2017 at the age of 14. For fans of the MC who has some of the most asymmetrical rhymes in all of music, DOOM also explains how he treats writing verses like a game. As an artist who many believe is far-and-above his peers, Daniel Dumile has created a way to make songwriting fun and competitive, even if most MCs are not in his league.
Madlib cameo ‘Absolutely’ alternately lurches and glides through that familiar murk that suits both artists perfectly, Jake One drops a handful of no-nonsense cuts that are the closest DOOM’s gotten to clean-fidelity midstream bangers in his career (‘Ballskin’, ‘Rap Ambush’), and DOOM himself goes raw with classic ’80s b-boy breaks (Raekwon feature ‘Yessir!’) and space opera soundtrack love themes (Ghostface teamup ‘Angelz’).
The first MF Doom single, Dead Bent ,” with Gas Drawls ” and Hey! ” was one of Fondle ‘Em’s earliest releases, and garnered attention in the now-churning underground hip-hop scene emanating out of New York City. It bolstered Doom as he embraced a new era of music-making.
However, in 1993 they made a stark departure from their upbeat debut with Black Bastards, a project that was swiftly shelved, Elektra Records deeming the title and cover image too controversial The group were dropped from the label shortly after. Black Bastards, after furious bootlegging of the LP gave KMD cult status, did eventually make it to release years later in 2000, but Dumile as his alter ego Zev Love X dropped off the music radar completely.
For 5 years he left the rap industry, only to be discovered in 1998 rapping at Café’s, and other miscellaneous places around New York City, by DJ Bobbito Garcia , owner of Fondle ‘Em Records Bobbito signed DOOM, whom he had recognized from his days with K.M.D., and DOOM released his solo debut, Operation: Doomsday , in 1999. The album, which is widely accepted as an underground classic, was, like Black Bastards , shelved, but this time because of sampling without license. Both albums were re-released in 2001, only to go out of print a matter of years later.
Upon his return to music, anonymity was DOOM’s main goal. In the beginning he’d throw on a bandana, or whatever he had to do, ” said Letham, the idea was to conceal his identity. ” Not only did this goal manifest itself in his physical presentation, but also in his adoption of fictionalized characters and constantly-shifting narrative perspectives in his music, and in how he chose to release his first solo music. Between 1997 and ’98, Dumile released three nondescript 12 ” singles — all of which would later appear on Operation: Doomsday — on Fondle ‘Em, a tiny label started by NYC hip-hop legend Bobbito Garcia. I think DOOM enjoyed putting out stuff the way we did it, with no politics or any of that, no record sleeves, no CDs. ” Garcia said of those inaugural releases. Just put the record out and it will speak for itself.
Doom: That’s the last song I laid down vocals for on the album, after Subroc was killed. My other brother Dim is two years younger than Sub therefore four years younger than Doom, he found the drums for that song. For years he’d say, You know I found those drums, you gotta give me co-production credit!” That constipated monkey” sample was another one off the Gylan Kain Blue Guerrilla album. Constipated Monkey was our crew. It was a vast crew, but we always stuck together. All the drums on the album are sampled or programmed, but if they’re programmed, it’s to mimic the sound of real drums. The only live instrumentation on the album was on that song, my cousin Brian Thompson played the bassline.
You know the movie Gladiator? Well around that time, they started selling these gladiator masks” that were replicas from the movie. So what it was is that a friend of mine told me he saw this mask that would be perfect for the DOOM character. I trusted him, even though it was kinda expensive laughs.
This is off KMD’s debut from ’91, Mr. Hood, a loosely conceptual effort that stands up nicely next to contemporary efforts by 3rd Bass or some of the tighter West Coast stuff of the era by The Pharcyde or Souls Of Mischief. That’s Dumile taking the first verse, and it sounds like pictures of Doom around the era look: He’s young, smiling directly into the camera, and rapping here from a charming, first-person angle that seems to directly incite the ASMR giggles of the hook. The KMD records are essential listening on their own, but they also work as prologue stories to Doom’s greater supervillain storyline. It’s reductive to simply equate the end of KMD (and Subroc’s death) with the creation of the Doom persona, but there’s no doubt that this sounds like the work of someone in a very different emotional space.
DOOM then guested on tracks by Kool Keith , the Avalanches , and BadBadNotGood , in addition to reuniting with Madlib for the 2016 single “Avalanche.” In August of 2017, Adult Swim announced the release of The Missing Notebook Rhymes, a digital compilation of unreleased DOOM tracks. One track was to be released each week over the course of three months; however, in late September, Adult Swim ended their relationship with DOOM , and the project was canceled. In 2018, DOOM ‘s full-length collaboration with hip-hop supergroup Czarface (consisting of Wu-Tang Clan ‘s Inspectah Deck and 7L & Esoteric ), Czarface Meets Metal Face , was released by Get On Down.
According to Doom, Ross and Pete Nice, the album had cost somewhere around its $200,000 budget to complete, including sample clearances and the video for What A Nigga Know,” which was never released. And now, for better or worse, Doom had it all tucked under his arm, on his way out of the Elektra Records doors.
Naming your album after a Charles Bukowski passage is a quick way to let people know that it’s time to get serious. If Kuffs could feel cold at times, Born Like This feels downright bitter, with DOOM painting exclusively with the greens and greys that make up his costume. It’s cohesive to the point of being monochromatic, even with outside producers like Madlib and Jake One chopping beats. There’s excellent storytelling in the crime saga Absolutely ” and rap aerobics on That’s That ” and the clacking Ballskin ,” but as a whole, Born Like This isn’t sturdy facewear. The album version of Ghostface collab Angelz” is early demo quality, great cameos from Raekwon and Empress Starhh feel airlifted from another project, and Batty Boyz” is still a low point in a career full of thinly veiled homophobia.
Doom faded from view for a couple years, moving from New York to Georgia. It was there that his MF Doom persona began to take shape, in private. By 1995, Doom’s old friend Kurious suggested that he approach radio impresario, artist manager and journalist Bobbito Garcia to release some of the new, non-KMD material he had been building, on Garcia’s ultra-indie label Fondle ‘Em Records.
The buzz around Born Like This seems elusive in retrospect, not because the album hadn’t earned it, but because it seemed unclear just where it stood in an end-of-the-aughts hip-hop world. To be fair, just about nobody had the best idea of where anybody stood back in ’09, where the closest there was to a consensus favorite was a toss-up between a comeback record from Raekwon and a comeback record from Mos Def – which, like this comeback record from DOOM (who’d been close to dormant for four years), felt more reassuring than revolutionary.
Their debut album is a walking tour of Long Beach, New York, made up of wide-eyed Afrocentric raps over sweet, tinny R&B flips. Many of DOOM’s trademarks can be traced back to this album: his obscure sampling palette (the album’s titular narrator of sorts is culled audio from a language learning tape), his internal rhyme schemes and his conceptual genius. Where else will a rapper chart out the chase for Little Black Sambo with Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street? Even given its content, Mr. Hood is a fun and breezy record that helped lay the groundwork for the villainy that was to come.
Negus, a dirtier number with the production side sounding akin to the ‘Born This Way’ – ‘Keys to the Kuffs’ DOOM era. Importantly, it features the late Sean Price and is a track which will feature on Sean Price’s posthumous album, ‘Imperious Rex’. There is also a verse from Ike Eyez on the track, but is only available on the ‘Imperious Rex’ album, not the Adult Swim release. It’s also worth noting, as is commonplace on a posthumous release, Sean Price’s verse on Negus was recorded for a different project, in this case from Impossible Dream on a Ras Kass record.
This past weekend, Madvillain’s Madvillainy celebrated its 15th-anniversary. Having released on March 23, 2004, the union of Madlib and MF DOOM marked a transformative moment in the careers of two Hip-Hop veterans with a passion for reinvention, character creation, and wildly inventive Rap music.
In a matter of time this success collapsed in on KMD, as Subroc was struck and killed by a car in 1993, just on the verge of their second album Black Bastards’ release. The group was unceremoniously dropped by their label, Elektra Records, the same week, and the album was shelved due to controversial content and cover art. (Though would later become legendary in underground circles through extensive bootlegging, eventually being reissued in 2008.) Broken from the death of his brother and the music industry’s betrayal towards him, Dumile would go into hiding to lick his wounds, and plan revenge.
Subroc was struck and killed by a car in 1993 while attempting to cross a Long Island expressway before the release of a second KMD album, titled Black Bastards. The group was subsequently dropped from Elektra Records that same week. Before the release of the album, it was shelved due to controversy over its cover art, which featured a cartoon of a stereotypical pickaninny or sambo character being hanged from the gallows.
Daniel Dumile, aka MF DOOM, has lived a thousand lives and his career has been a succession of false starts and bright flashes. Listen to MF Doom rap in KMD’S Peachfuzz , then listen to some of his more recent work.