2020 was a snarling motherfucker of a year, one which has taken a lot from us. The exclamation point on that fact was today’s announcement of the passing of the monumental rapper and producer MF DOOM (all caps, always), one of most weirdest, wildest, and most enigmatic figures to ever grace popular music, and one who has changed the genre entirely.
DOOM’s (re)birth is the stuff of legend: He debuted in the late ’80s as Zev Love X, member of the Afrocentric rap group KMD (short for “a positive Kause for a Much Damaged society”) with his brother Subroc and members Rodan and Onyx the Birthstone Kid (quite the name there). Their ’91 debut Mr. Hood followed in the footsteps of De La and the Jungle Brothers, espousing positivity and knowledge of self, but their second record, the harder-edged Black Bastards, was shelved by their label due to its controversial subject matter before its 1993 release. That same year Subroc was killed in an auto accident which cut DOOM deeply. He retreated from the rap world for years, even experiencing homeless for a time, before re-emerging back in the underground hip-hop scene with a metal mask and styling himself after the comic book character Doctor Doom. He would become known and revered for his eccentricity, his lyrical dexterity, his prodigious output and numerous aliases, and talented production skills, and would massively influence hip-hop and pop culture on his own terms while shunning labels and mainstream acceptance.
If you have even a passing knowledge of hip-hop you know 2004’s Madvillainy, his collaboration with LA producer Madlib, blending DOOM’s wild lyricism with Madlib’s spare, left-field beats. The album turned both of ’em into instant rap phenoms and influenced a generation of rappers and producers. It’s a classic record.
So, for tonight’s post I had to put up “America’s Most Blunted” from that project, such a sublimely weird moment. On this one DOOM and guest Quasimoto (actually Madlib in disguise) roll one up and stumble around the disjointed, frenetic beat, raving about how just high they get. It’s strange, fun, and memorable as hell.
So, smoke ’em if you got em, and let’s get the fuck up out this year. Rest easy, Villain.