Earl and Tyler meeting MF DOOM. Earl gets emotional (skip to 1:30 for when they meet)

In some ways, I still think this view of DOOM still doesn't see the whole picture...

DOOM is the embodiment of the undiscussed aspects of caricature throughout hip hop or at least MC's in general.

His first album was the creation of a cartoon character with a persona with a backstory that overlapped with his own. After the death of his brother (Subroc) and devastation of being dropped by a major label for controversial artwork (KMD- Black Bastards) he was undoubtably changed and jaded. He retreated into solitude for something like 7 years. He re-emerged with Operation: Doomsday, which feels less like a concept album, and more of a declaration. Daniel Dumile/Zev Love X is dead. MF DOOM, the super villain of rap is here (I mean, he’s even exiled from the USA… could he be more villainous?)

What other rapper has so uniquely appropriated their own backstory? Traditionally, rappers have spoke of their own personal tribulations/rough upbringings/ oppressions through hyperbole, abstraction, metaphor, or just third person,: Slick Rick’s storytelling, East-Coast mafioso culture, West-Coast's defiantly-gangster rap, even Kendrick becoming K-dot…. Biggie, Eazy-E, hell Danny Brown- they are all larger than life, sure, but you can see them on stage, have their poster on your wall, see them in interviews (see: this week's numerous 'Can I just smoke a blunt and eat bolognese with Bronsolini?' posts- which i'm not knocking). Their views and stories are supposed to inspire, ignite, maybe challenge us. But we are supposed to, almost universally, feel what they feel. (e.g. I might not sell crack, but cash still rules everything around me [and you]).

DOOM is the mirror to that, the antidote. He's an abstraction of what it means to be a rapper/MC. He isn't a master of ceremony- he's the creep in the corner laughing at 'how ridiculous it all is' (a-la Watchmen’s Comedian). His dedication to the mask and extended persona isn’t just a unique gimmick, or a way to stay anonymous and comfortable going to the grocery store. It’s a fuck-you to everything to do with rap music: marketability (in any form other than closely-controlled independent distribution), label control (which led to his exile), fans (fabled DOOMbots), producer sound control (only ever works in DOOM-side-branded 1-1 comic-book-like ‘crossover-issues’). DOOM represents an all-encompassing contrarian. He’s not just against the government, wack-rappers, racial oppression or unhealthy eating habits. He’s against everything and anything (even himself, all the time).

SO- to say that DOOM is rap’s Picasso- twisting verses, bars, lines into a poetic abstractions that allude to general forms, atmosphere, or tone- is true, but only partially. DOOM is more calibrated than that. To make a super lame look-I-took-a-year-of-art-history-in-between-browising-Hypebeast analogy; he’s rap’s Banksy, taking an medium and elevating it to a level where you have to question admiration of the art itself; “why do we pay money to see this anyway?” while still being technically superb- DOOM’s one-of-a-kind dense, alliterate, winding verses are Banksy’s socio-commentating-stencil-puns (Bansky ripped of the rat motif from Blec-Le-Rat, but you could almost say DOOM ripped his mask concept from early-era-hockey-mask Ghostface…)

Lastly- DOOM rhyming about ‘nothing in general’ ‘not morals’ ‘un-political’…. Not necessarily. Sure, it has to be said that his general style prioritizes style over direct message, there is still a lot to be seen under the initial veil: peep a couple examples….

King Geedorah’s ‘One Smart Nigger’ is far more than a tonal collage that sets the stage or feel (it’s not a Liquid Swords assassin-vignette or College Dropout School Spirit (Skit 2). It’s a flowing conversation of strong dramatic theme and message (that you can begin to guess at with the title), yet stands pretty ideologically independent in the album. But sure, that’s not him rapping.

Gazillion Ear is four minutes of straight rapping, not a noticeable pause other than a breath at a beat switch (middle section is tooooooo nasty). Of course he’s going to wander, especially with his verbal density. But almost every line of the first and third verses relates to the powers of money- even the middle verse cashes in: “Listen don’t look now, keep walkin/ Traded three beans for this cow, cheap talkin/ Hawkmen stalking hear that we hawkin often/ Coughin to a coffin, might as well scoff the pork then.” —might sound like DOOM-ibberish, but he really just said “I keep my head down because I made a small sketchy deal on the side, but the money-hungry cops already get a slice, so screw it, i’ll do this deal till I’m dead”. It is a stretch, sure, but that’s not meaningless babel. In conjunction with the rest of the song, it holds meaning. “Half cocked and half baked/ Used to keep a full stock of work, half rock and half shake/ My mistake, sign a track agreement/ For more G’s than lines and cracks in the cement”.

Last, most direct example: Deep Fried Frenz. Leave it to the super villain to devote an entire song to say that friends are overrated. “So nowadays he ain’t so friendly/ Actually they wouldn’t even made a worthy enemy/ Read the signs, no feeding the baboons/ Seein’ as how they got ya back bleeding from the stab wounds.” Those lines have it all. DOOM in four lines. [MM..FOOD is a good place to look for DOOM’S more strongly thematic songs- Beef Rap, Rapp Snitch Knishes… it’s not just food-bars].

TL;DR- DOOM says of the King Geedorah album “This whole album is Geedorah’s alien perspective on humans. This is done intentionally to shoe the listener a mirror image of his/herself and the way we see each other.”

Fuck this was way too long.

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