I still can’t believe he’s gone. MF DOOM left planet earth on the 31st October 2020, and left a legacy unparalleled in hip-hop. He transcended music. I built friendships over mutual love and respect for his artistry, and I’m sure I’ll continue doing so in years to come. I just wanted to say, thank you MF DOOM. Your music has inspired me and millions of others around the world who fell in love with your mystique and villainous persona. As a producer, he’s created some of the most iconic beats and instrumentals of all time, and as an emcee… well, just listen to “Figaro” off Madvillainy or “THAT’S THAT” off BORN LIKE THIS to get a glimpse of his genius.
To this day, I still can’t rap the entire verse to this gem. “It’s too hot to handle, you got blue sandals / Who shot ya? Ooh got you new spots to vandal? / Do not stand still, boast yo’ skills / Close but no krills, toast for po’ nils, post no bills / Coast to coast Joe Shmoe’s flows ill, go chill / Not supposed to overdose No-Doz pills”.
“Cornish hens / Switching positions / Auditioning morticians / Saw it in a vision, ignoring prison” is still one of my favourite lyrics of his.
While I haven’t returned to his early 90s KMD days, “Peachfuzz” off 1991’s Mr. Hood is still an incredible introduction to his work.
And of course, the track that introduced me to your music back in the summer of 2010 – “All Caps”. A friend of mine into some of the iconic underground shit sent me a YouTube link to the music video to that classic, and it changed my life. The animations (directed by James Reitano) were so poignant and so incredible to me, that I was immediately hooked to his comic book, dynamic and wildly creative vision.
This is a man who created a whole concept (and sample and skit-heavy) album around food on his 2004 classic Mm..Food. To me his best solo project, including some of my favourite tracks. “Kon Karne” is my favourite on the project. “How he bust lyrics—it’s too futuristic for ballistics / And far too eccentric for forensics / I dedicate this mix to Subroc, the hip-hop Hendrix.” Death has played a large part in DOOM’s life and work. He lost his brother Subroc in a car-related accident back in 1993. His son King Malachi Ezekiel Dumile passed away in 2017, at age 14. I can only imagine the heaviness of this kind of loss on him, and I wanted to express my condolences to Daniel Dumile’s family.
1999’s Doomsday is where DOOM recharged his career after the KMD days. There are so many classic records on his debut album, but “Doomsday” featuring Pebbles The Invisible, “The Finest” featuring Tommy Gunn, “Red and Gold” featuring King Ghidra and “Gas Drawls” are my favourites. “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?.” I find peace thinking he’s he’s with his loved ones in a better place now.
As for his alter egos, jheez man! Viktor Vaughn is like DOOM’s evil alter-ego, appearing on “Fancy Clown” off Madvillainy but also having a standalone album on the underrated 2003 classic Vaudeville Villain. “Lickupon” is the track I keep returning to. That beat is nuts and his lyrics are incredible. This whole passage is incredible and hilarious – Umm, he wrote this one with a fever, sick in bed / With his dickhead inside a chickenhead / No, a dead chicken’s head, he said it help his nausea / If he lost ya’, wait till he tell you about the flying saucer / Dag, the kickback’ll leave your wig ragged / For a big bag of good grizzle and some Zig-Zag.”
On his 2003 project Take Me To Your Leader, DOOM as King Geedorah brings a smooth and colourful soundscape as well as a plethora of features that enrich the album’s beautiful aura. One of his most idiosyncratic tracks ever is “No Snakes Alive”. From the crazy beat to the dynamic and really odd flows, this to me was a true trademark to his creative aura.
In terms of collaborative projects, I have to mention both DANGERDOOM with Danger Mouse and JJ DOOM with Jneiro Jarel. The former collaboration gave us 2005’s THE MOUSE & THE MASK, what many consider his most accessible album. “El Chupa Nibre” contains some of my favourite lyrics of his I don’t even know where to start. It’s a true example of his genius. “Chew a MC like El Chupa Nibre / Digest a group and sell the poop on eBay/ Danger with the vest screamin “Shoot the DJ!” / DOOM clickin over two chickens, three-way / Four in the 5, a cork on the freeway / Villain find a way to make ’em pay whatever we say / State your intentions / “I really love your tape but I hate your inventions” / Very well – what you want, a brownie? He took off the mask and whispered “Put me where you found me””. The transition into “Sofa King” is perfect, and the sequencing of this album as a whole was truly incredible.
In 2012 he released Key to the Kuffs along with Jneiro Jarel as JJ DOOM, another solid project that was equally as captivating as his other work. He opens “Guvnor” with “Catch a throatful from the fire vocaled / With ash and molten glass like Eyjafjallajökull / The volcano out of Iceland / He’ll conquer and destroy the rap world like the white men”. I still can’t believe he included that volcano reference and when I heard it for the first time I was speechless. No other rapper would do that.
Oh but he’s released more classics. “Monkey Suite” being one of them…
… and the Captain Murphy, Flying Lotus-produced “Between Villains” featuring Viktor Vaughn and Earl Sweatshirt…
… and “November Has Come” Off Gorillaz’s classic Demon Days…
And of course I won’t forget about Daniel Dumile the producer. One of the most underrated beatmakers of all time, I’m sometimes guilty of forgetting he actually produces the majority of his tracks, just because the focus for me has always been on his genius poetry. Enter, the Special Herbs beat tapes.
Enjoy these ones.
Thank you, MF DOOM, for your art and changing the way I listen to and interpret music. I still haven’t unpacked all of your art, which is a true testament of your genius. You will be missed, but in many ways, through your music you’ll live on forever. Rest In Eternal Peace, Daniel Dumile.