A New Video Explores The Villainous Greatness Of MF DOOM
MF DOOM has a career that spans nearly 30 years. Even before Heads get to the mask, Daniel Dumile is an anomaly. He is British-born, New York-raised, and signed a major label deal as a teenager with twin brother Subroc and third member Onyx in KMD at the top of the ’90s. From his role on 3rd Bass hits, DOOM (tka Zev Love X) was a charismatic figure. However, much like Dr. Dre, the sudden 1993 loss of his brother transformed his career. By the 1990s, as DOOM battled homelessness, reported drug and alcohol woes, and a changing musical landscape, he bucked the system. With metal face on and no commercial pressures to conform, MF DOOM was born.
HipHopDX‘s Justin Hunte made a video essay, “The Hypocrisy Of The DOOM Fan.” As a professed DOOM fan himself, Hunte looks at the wonder in DOOM’s writing and delivery. He analyzes what the many characters in DOOM’s repertoire (Viktor Vaughan, King Geedorah, etc.) represent. The examples are deeper than the novice DOOM Head might have within reach. Moreover, they are supported with evidence. In some Red Bull Music Academy interview footage, DOOM explains why the mask (beyond the reports of reminding him of his late brother) was a response to a visually-driven ’90s Rap industry. Without jewelry, lowriders, or scantily clad women on yachts, DOOM’s covered face was a callback to the days when music existed apart from visuals. Like the days when MCs had singles to create followings before visuals, DOOM wanted all attention on his art, not his looks. “The mask rebelled against the whole ‘to sell the product as a human being.’ It’s more [about] sound. At the same time, it’s something different.”
As Hunte shows, those lyrics are more colorful because of this. DOOM is honest, even when he’s exaggerated or in character. However, while DOOM is authentic, he’s not always immune to criticism. In the 2000s including while on tour with Lupe Fiasco, Dumile began reportedly sending men to the stage as “MF DOOM.” According to Prince Paul (whose worked with DOOM since the earliest days), this was by design. Kool Keith, as Hunte interviews, thinks it is a type of intentional comedy. With some fans responding to so-called “imposters” by trashing the show and stealing merchandise, HipHopDX‘s spokesman argues that fans are living by a double-standard. Not only are they sabotaging DOOM, they are overlooking his incredible story, and disrespecting his apparently intentional wish to not perform. For holding DOOM in the highest regard, are fans really being fair (when Tupac “holograms” exist, and other artists have video conferenced into concerts)? There is no answer, just precise questions.
As Justin Hunte states, KMD never reached the success that DOOM has found since 1997. Moreover, if people want “the person,” they are asking for Zev Love X—the man before the character. So says the breakdown, this is a double-standard.
There is no telling what 2017 holds for DOOM in the way of music or performing. Last year, he twice worked with Keith including both ’80s MCs appearing on Atmosphere’s album. DOOM also popped up on The Avalanches’ latest.
#BonusBeat: Footage of fans booing an imposter DOOM, before the real MF DOOM shows up on stage:
The song is Madvillain’s “Accordion.”