Unmasking MF DOOM: The Supervillian of Hip Hop

CHICAGO+-+JULY+18%3A++Hip+hop+artist+DOOM+performs+onstage+during+the+Pitchfork+Music+Festival+at+Union+Park+on+July+18%2C+2009+in+Chicago.++%28Photo+by+Roger+Kisby%2FGetty+Images%29

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CHICAGO – JULY 18: Hip hop artist DOOM performs onstage during the Pitchfork Music Festival at Union Park on July 18, 2009 in Chicago. (Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty Images)

Calen Lawson

When fans of rap have the dreaded conversation of artists gone too soon, a lot of names come to mind. Tupac, Biggie, Mac Miller, Lil Peep, XXXTentacion are just a few off the top of my head. However, no one sticks out to me more than MF DOOM, the underground hip-hop artist that produced some of the most influential music of the early 2000s. MF DOOM passed away on October 31st, 2020 with his death being announced on New Year’s Eve through social media by his wife, Jasmine Dumile.

 

Before we learn about the persona, who was MF DOOM? Otherwise known by his many other pseudonyms: Viktor Vaughn, King Geedorah, etc. Daniel Dumile was born in London, England but was raised in Long Island, New York. He began his career in 1988 with hip hop trio KMD. The group consisted of him and his younger brother Dingilizwe, professionally known as DJ Subroc. The group was bound for success. However, setbacks would occur when their second studio album Black Bastards was abandoned due to its political message and cover art. The group disbanded not long after when Dingilizwe tragically died in a car accident while crossing the Long Island Expressway. Years later, MF DOOM was born. 

Dumile with a stuffed KMD mascot; Black Bastards album cover (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

 

Doom began performing in open mic events in the late ’90s. Many know him from his signature metal mask resembling Marvel Comics supervillain Doctor Doom. In 1999, he produced his debut solo album Operation: Doomsday. The album was so unique because it saw distinctive sampling and clever pop culture references. People commonly agree that this album still holds up today. Upon release of Operation: Doomsday, he was rarely seen unmasked. Daniel adopted his new persona. He played Doctor Doom’s role so well he even used imposters or “Doombots” to lipsync his music on stage. Naturally, this made people upset that he wasn’t there. 

MF DOOM performing in his mask at Alexandra Palace in London England, 2011 (Photo Credit: Nick Pickles/WireImage)

 

So why is Doom so important? Why did I just give you a two-paragraph summary about his life? Simply put, no one has music as intricate as him. But that’s not to say his music isn’t silly. A majority of it is satire. BATTY BOYZ for example is a diss on Batman’s character and why his flamboyant costume and teenage sidekick are abnormal. Mm..Food is a concept album focusing on rhyme schemes for picnic food with titles like my personal favorites, “One Beer” and “Beef Rapp”. 

 

But if you’re looking for Doom’s more celebrated stuff, look no further than Madvilliany, by hip hop duo Madvillain. More specifically, MF DOOM and producer Madlib. Commonly regarded as his magnum opus, Madvillainy has music with a slow and relaxed flow with unique instrumentals and wordplay. If you’re a fan of hip hop, chances are you’ve listened to the album or at the very least seen the album cover, a grayscale photo of Doom in his mask. Doom inspired an entire generation of new talent including artists like Tyler The Creator and Earl Sweatshirt. 

Madvillainy’s album cover (Photo Credit: Jeff Jank / Studio album by Madvillain)

 

So, how do we support Doom in wake of his passing? The best way is to spread the word and listen to his music. If you’re a fan, gasdrawls.com has merchandising, CD/vinyl records, and music videos with the proceeds going towards his loved ones. From this day forward, fans of MF DOOM will remember Halloween as Doomsday. And finally, 

Just remember ALL CAPS when you spell the man name.”

— MF DOOM