The news broke this weekend that Daniel Dumile, known as MF DOOM, passed away at the age of 49. This one hurts. Originally a kind of for-nerds-only / stream of consciousness type rapper, DOOM consistently put out interesting and thoughtful art at his own high standard. There were no hits, just the fans who knew and the people who didn’t. And, he did it all while donning some seriously impressive masks.
His albums provided a backdrop for different parts of my life, especially my college years. He never put something out that I didn’t at least have to try (even the weird stuff like MM…Food, which is all about… food). His work with Madlib is probably my favorite (Madvillain), but I’m all in from “The Gas Face” to his sampling of one of my favorite Charles Bukowski poems on “Born Like This.”
When an album, song, or turn of phrase settled in, they’d stick in my head forever. I walk around muttering his lines to myself all the time. Go find a “best of” or “essentials” playlist or just burn through Madvillain start to finish and space out a bit.
Since I had to highlight at least in thing, here’s a verse from his feature with De La Soul, “Rock Co.Kane Flow.” It’s got all the types of random idea connections and internal rhyme schemes people loved him for (plus I love that beat):
From the top of the key, the 3 Villain
Been on in the game as long as you can wheelie your Schwinn
Turn the corner spinnin, bust that ass and get up
Dust off the mask, whoever laugh give him a head up
He got jumped, it pumped his adrenaline
He said it made him tougher than a bump of raw medicine
To write all night long, the hourglass is still slow
Flow from Hellborn to Free Power like Wilco
And still owe bills, pay dues forever
Slay huge when it comes to who’s more cleverer
Use to wore a leather goose ski with a fur collar
Hand charged a fee for loose leaf words for dollar
Ya heard? Holla – broad or dude, we leave food
Eat your team for sure, the streets sure seem rude
For fam like the Partridges, pardon me for the mix-up
Battle for your Atari cartridges or put your kicks up
It’s a stickup
I’m going to miss him. RIP DOOM. And remember, all caps when you spell the man’s name.