What do you do when a murderers’ row of critics, curators, and artist representatives all talk about the beginnings of one of your favorite artist’s careers? You listen twice. This isn’t for everyone, but there’s an MBA in here somewhere for those that care.
MF DOOM passed away on Halloween at the age of 49, but his family only recently announced it to the world. The outpouring of love has been beautiful, to say the least. In this three-part interview led by NYT’s Jon Caramanica, we get stories from Bobbito, Stretch, and Dante Ross about “How Zev Love X Became MF Doom.”
If you didn’t pay close attention to this while it unfolded, here’s what to notice: the diversity of hip hop in the 80s turned into the commercialization of hip hop in the 90s. On the lip of that turn, a young Zev Love X lost his brother and musical partner, and his record deal effectively at the same time.
Feeling shunned from the industry, he reinvented his career as a mask-wearing villain named MF DOOM (after the comic book character). Created out of tragedy, he was on a personal mission to make his own art on his own terms and survive.
I’m not kidding when I say there’s an MBA in here. His early career is full of anecdotes on audience building, creative work, getting burned by larger organizations, and how to hustle, with art, for profit. It’s a very DIY/punk ethos at its core, but the man made quite the impact. He experienced even more success in the period following what they discuss here.
Take a listen as three people who knew him well reminisce over their time with him. Again, this isn’t for everybody, but I can’t tell you how happy this made me this week.
One musical highlight too (that’s Bobbito on the outro. He put the record out and they only pressed 4,500 copies of a vinyl-only release in the late 90s. Legendary).