MF DOOM is the alias of New York rapper Daniel Dumile, probably best know for donning a mask every time he makes an appearance on camera. MF DOOM wears a mask because his brother was tragically killed by a car. I’m sure there is more to that, but I’m reviewing the music, not the man.
Anyway, this is DOOM’s first solo album after working with his brother and another rapper on the KMD albums. On this album DOOM takes the supervillain persona and makes sort of a concept record. The samples in between songs narrate the story of Dr. Doom, and the lyrics contain multiple references to comic book heroes and villains.
The beats on this album are all self produced and based off looping. Not very creative and unimpressive from a producer’s stand point, but still entertaining nonetheless. The loops range from Steely Dan, to hectic Brazilian guitar riffs, to Sunday morning AM radio bumpers, creating a diverse, if not inconsistent sound.
MF DOOM’s flow gets a lot of criticism for not necessarily always being on beat, but on such a strange album, that works to his benefit. DOOM drops clever quick lines with pop culture references galore that nearly make you forget the fact that he is basically talking. DOOM has a thick New Yorker accent which adds to the enjoyment of hearing him drop lines about “spark(ing) the deaf, dumb and blind like Helen Keller”. The thing that helps DOOM succeed on this album is his content. He doesn’t try to cram 20 syllable words into a line, he uses his humor to show his intelligence instead.
None of the features on the album are particularly of note, besides MF Grimm on Tick, Tick. DOOM’s Monsta Island Czar counterparts seem to be too stuck on saying big words really fast to be concerned about flow and riding the beat. Grimm turns in a great performance on Tick, Tick though, riding the beat that changes tempo and spitting possibly his best verse.
Although this album may take some time to sink in, not because of it’s highly intellectual content, but the unconventional style of MF DOOM, it is definitely worth a try. Even though all the beats are loops, none seem to get monotonous, and DOOM’s humor is enough to make up for his flawed flow. A good prerequisite to other DOOM albums to see where the Villain got his start.