Words By Medina
The musical legacy of Daniel Dumile aka Zev Lov X aka Viktor Vaughn aka King Geedorah aka MF DOOM is forever ingrained within the hip-hop pantheon. October 16 marks the 11th anniversary for the releaes of MM..Food, one of DOOM’s most wildly acclaimed projects. So we wanted to the take time to acknowledge this classic work and discuss exactly what makes the project so special.
Although DOOM had been releasing a steady stream of music since his 1999 debut Operation: Doomsday, most was done under one of his numerous alter-egos. By the end of 2004, Mr. Metal Face had firmly established as one of the game’s most intriguing figures, setting the stage for his second album under the MF DOOM moniker.
By releasing the project through indie hip-hop giant Rhymesayers Entertainment, Dumile had the perfect platform to re-introduce the world to the MF DOOM character. Past projects saw DOOM taking the backseat on either the production or vocal side. Food showcased his talents on both sides of the board and his versatility got audiences acquainted with this underground entity.
Conceptually, he takes us to an alternate universe through the heavy use of food metaphors, avant-garde jazz samples and cartoon clips. The mix launches listeners into an adult comic strip, one where the villain plays the role of hero. DOOM is firmly planted within his comfort zone on this album and it shows.
His dense, uncanny lyricism seems effortless as he touches on a broad range of subjects from sexual escapades on “Hoe Cakes” to dealing with shady homies on “Deep Fried Frenz.” Both tracks incorporate production and sampling techniques that could have only been conceived by a mad scientist.
Placing himself within the restrictions of a heavy concept based album allowed DOOM to flex his artistic muscle in the most nonchalant way possible. Sonically, the tone of the album is very cheery and light-hearted, a perfect juxtaposition to the dark and paranoid lyrics delivered on tracks like “Rap Snitch Knishes.”
“True, there’s rules to this shit, fools dare care
Everybody wanna rule the world with tears for fear
Yeah, yeah, tell ‘em, tell it on the mountain hill
Running up they mouth bill, everybody doubting still…”
It’s almost as if the villain is unmasking himself a bit on this project, presenting concerns and vulnerabilities uncharacteristic of this typically secretive and distant entity. This is done only to a certain extent of course, as the album contains plenty of tongue-in-cheek moments that DOOM disciples expect from their phantom leader.
Many songs on MM..Food run longer than his previous work in Madvillany. The additional running times allows the audience to become more acquainted with the DOOM character. Such is especially true on “Kookies,” a self-deprecating tribute to online pornography.
One little evening alone, home
End up with carpal tunnel syndrome
And here I am, known for giving heavy back aches
Grown and living off of Little Debbies snack cakes
Supposed to be checking e-mails
All I got is messages from naked ass females.”
Here, we find DOOM with his guard down, lamenting his life circumstances and the plight of the everyman, a far cry from the larger than life persona we are used to. It’s comical, but also relatable in a way we wouldn’t typically expect from DOOM.
Overall, MM..Food is a hefty meal with a lot of colors, themes and emotions to digest. With DOOM assuming the role of Master Chef, he seasons the album with enough flavors to keep audiences satisfied, but eager for the next course, something he continues to do to this day. While DOOM continues to release great music, this classic album always feels fresh no matter how times we’ve sat with it, comfort food for the modern day hip-hop head.
Medina’s a creative antihero upsetting the set up across different media platforms. Joakim Noah’s stunt double on the weekends. Find him on Twitter, @TheColdMedina.