REMEMBERING // MF DOOM
January 12th, 2021 // Writer: Shane Allen // Music
To end off such a terrible year, nature gave us one last souvenir to remember it by, the passing of the greats, MF DOOM.
Rest in Power Daniel Dumile.
MF DOOM was "your favorite rapper’s, favorite rapper" also quite possibly your favorite rapper as well.. He was one of the most truly unique artists of the genre, He paved a path for himself that set a president and has influenced some of today's most gifted rappers. Whether its comic book style production, the mask he wears, or cleverly abstract rhymes, DOOM always let you know that it was okay to be doing something different.
DOOM was a character, quite literally. Basing his whole aesthetic off of the comic book villain Doctor Doom, from the Marvel Universe created by Stan Lee. Every song DOOM made was written in the perspective of a Supervillain*
A killer who loves children,
One who is well-skilled in destruction, as well as building”
Those are Lyrics from Doomday, the first song off of his first album Operation Doomsday. He comes through and sets the landscape. This is who I am, this is what I am trying to do, and this is how I’m going to do it.
On Doomsday!, ever since the womb ‘til I'm back where my brother went, that's what my tomb will say,
Right above my government; Dumile
Either unmarked or engraved, hey, who's to say?
Doom lost his brother Subroc in a car crash in 1993, his brother was also his partner in the rap group they were in KMD. The group caught some buzz and made a couple of albums until the untimely death of Subroc. This caused DOOM, then known as Zev Love X, to go into hiding where he formulated his next moves, reemerging as MF DOOM with Operation Doomsday in 1999.
I say this not to be mean, wish bad luck or pop junk
He’s saying he wrote the song in jail, specifically the bottom bunk of cell 17 in O-section. I love these lyrics because you can clearly picture the backstory. I can see him in the jail cell, looking back at his misfortune and possibly bad decision making. At the same time using is as fuel and ammunition for formulation his next moves.
"Krazy World" - King Geedorah, Take Me to You Leader.
The rapper actually had multiple aliases in which he would release music under. The most known other two are Victor Vaugn, a young street kid ready to pop off at whatever and King Geedorah, an alien come to earth to observe human nature.
This song definitely is great example of DOOM’s amazing talent at digging for samples and creating moods that dont exist elsewhere. The sample comes from the original Twin Peaks theme.
“Krazy world, get it where you fit in
Choose how to roll, the dough there for the picking
Switch up—you’re stuck, telegraphing how you’re living
On a lot of DOOMS records, it’s totally possible that he’ll have someone else sing or rap the whole song with him on production. This is a great example of that and how having someone else you’re not familiar your with will hit harder than you thought. It’s like movies that don’t use stars, it removes an element of separation between you and what your consuming.
But when he wasn't DOOM, he always wore a mask, we still don’t know what he looks like. We only have the pictures from when he was in the group KMD that had some buzz going in the 90’s.
The reasoning of the mask is not only to hide his identity, but to tell you to focus on the music. It doesn’t matter what he looks like, its not important who he is in his normal life, it's all about the music and nothing else.
He mentions that rap is usually about everything but the actual music, The fame, the money, the women, he wants to make sure that the focus is not on the material aspect of rap and focus on strictly making the lyrics and the production the best most authentic possible. It feels more real, more human, you can connect in ways that you cant with other rappers. It's kinda hard to relate to someone if all they’re talking about is how much more rich they are than you.
"So nowadays he ain't so friendly,
Actually, he woulda even made a worthy enemy,
Read the signs: "No feeding the baboon"
Seeing as how they got ya back bleeding from the stab wounds,
Y'all know the dance, they smile in ya face, y'all know the glance,
Try to put 'em on, they blow the chance,
Never let your so-called mans know ya plans,
(How many of us have them?) A show of hands, (Friends)
Is a term some people use loosely
I'm real choosy on what I choose to let you see
You telling me, I try to act broke
Jealousy the number one killer among black folk"
- MF DOOM (Deep Fried Frenz
When you meet someone for the first time, and you start to talk about your interests and what music you’re into. If you eventually discover that you’re both into DOOM, you can probably assume that the other person is also into some other things you’re into and most likely has a more refined taste, as snobby as that sounds. If you’re into DOOM, you’re probably into jazz, you’re probably into funk and you’re probably into psychedelia.
He kept it %100 raw at all times. He never wanted to make a hit, there’s no way any radio station would ever play him and he made every point possible to remove himself from fame and fortune. He would pull off crazy schemes like dressing other people up in his mask to perform at his shows...for real. It's funny that being the least marketable artist, is the same thing that makes you so attractive.
"Blazing swords, trace the haze
Praise the lord, saving grace
Lace your broad, she say she bored
A crazy straw, ink and stale-dried parrafin
Candy corn crap rappers pale by comparison
A bad Samaritan averaging above average men
Rancid (rance) havin' ramblin', savages scavagin"
- MF DOOM (Cellz)
You could always tell doom was on some other shit. Who else have you heard of has a song featuring Charles Bukowski? Obviously he just samples him, but that’s still pretty un heard of. This poem by Bukowski “Dinosauria, We” inspired a whole album of DOOM’s
Bukowski is a famous author known for his nihilistic stories about the world. The poem deals with how we are all spawned on un unfair playing field and how we deal with it. The song just puts it on line. Exposes the dishonest, discriminatory, one-sidedness of the world, the grim reality we weave ourselves in and out everyday, no hiding it.
Crosshairs is our favorite song off of one of DOOM’s many collaborative albums “The Mouse and the Mask” Produced entirely by super-producer Danger Mouse. The album was produced under Adult Swim. Pretty appropriate considering both of the artists o the album are named after cartoon characters.
"Super, he's loaded dice nice,
And overpriced, an arm and a leg, owe 'em your life or your ice,
Villain, nag a grieving old hag,
Snag a bragger by his mic cord and leave him holding the bag"
- MF DOOM (Crosshairs)
The album incorporates many of cartoons that aired on Adult Swim back in the day, featuring the likes of Aqua Team Hunger Force, Space Ghost, Harvey Birdman and more. It’s a pretty funny product, it has much humor in it and but the paring of Danger Mouse and Doom. The production are a perfect, cartoonish yet jazzy and open backdrop to Doom’s illustrated bars.
This is rare, a melding of the minds of two of 2000’s underground rap most widely acclaimed artists DOOM and Aesop Rock.
Almost a contrast from probably DOOMS most famous and widely acclaimed as a perfect album...the infamous “Madvilliany” produced by the legend Madlib. Picking one song that stands out on the album is almost impossible because practically every song on this album is a 10/10. choosing one would be a disservice to the album....But i guess if we were, being that its its the end of the road my guy.. I give to you the last song of the album. Rhinestone Cowboy...
This is song is a perfect ending to a perfect album. Its the curtains, the conclusion. A portrait of DOOM, he paints himself as this folky mysterious figure, looking back at a career and life. Pointing out things that went wrong, things that works and almost asking himself, “How did I get here?”
“Oh my old hands, from raking in grands and breaking in mic stands.”
A lifetime's worth of doing dirt, rocking shows and spreading love to world the only way he ever knew how to.
Rest in Peace MF DOOM, we'll meet you over there.
// Pre- Order the next issue of Populist Magazine Here
// Subscribe to us on Youtube