Daniel Dumile AKA Viktor Vaughn AKA King Gheedora AKA Metal Fingers AKA Doom is hands down one of my favorite rappers ever. Although he can hardly claim to be the most lyrically dexterous or conscious or street or whatever; in a world of cliches, biters and sucka MC’s, no one sounds like Mother Fuckin’ Doom. As eccentric as anyone rocking the mic this side of Kool Keith, Doom is a super villain among goons. Although he's also kinda like the Woody Allen of hip hop- insightful but slightly neurotic in a charmingly quirky way. His instantly recognizable, stream-of-conscious-style, is characterized by a nerdy preponderance for comic books (he raps in a Dr Doom mask) and an off-beat cadence that belies his natural gift for wordplay. Delivered with a buttery smooth tone, in a freestyle manner- sans chorus- he raps in the third person. His sense of humor, admittedly close to mine, is subtle and somewhat idiosychratic. His flows, which have a tendancy to start and end abruptly, are chock full of absurd metaphors and bad puns like “got more soul than a sock with a hole” Or one of my favorites:
'Bout to jet, get him, not a bet, dead 'em
Let 'em spit venom said 'em got a lot of shit with 'em
Let the rhythm hit 'em, it's stronger in the other voice
We make the joints that make 'em spread 'em butta moist
Man, please. The stage is made of panties
From the age of baby hoochies on to the grannies
Ban me the dough rake, daddy
The flow make her fatty shake, patty cake, patty cake
Madvillain - Figaro
A producer in his own right, Dumile can flip a track as easily as he laces it. I’ve compiled a partial run down of my favorite stuff by the man:
OPERATION DOOMSDAY – Dope! The first record to be released as MF Doom pretty much set the tone for his style. The production is lo fi and DYI-sounding in the original spirit of hip hop. Doom’s beats are fairly straight forward (the better to drop science over), usually just an instrument and looped drums. Intrerspersed throughout though, are tons of samples, mainly from vintage hip hop, Wild Style and cartoons like Fantastic Four and Spider Man (antagonists of Dr Doom). The tracks are minimal, but not boring; kitchy but not cheesy. Some notables are the Scooby Doo sampling Hey!, Rhymes like Dimes and Tick, Tick featuring MF Grimm. The latter with it’s "Speed it up Slow it up/Tick Tick MF Blow it Up" hook, stands out for it’s disorienting elasticity of tempo. The album also features guest rappers Tommy Gun, Rodan, Megalon and Columbia’s Kurious.
MM.. FOOD - This 2004 sequel to Doomsday was released on Minneapolis based Rhymesayers. Improving on the first “operation” in almost every area, this is some of his best stuff IMO. Almost entirely self produced, and again kicking off with a generous sample of Wildstyle; which talks about eating sandwiches. As one might guess the culinary references continue throughout on songs with names like Beef Rap, Kon Queso, Rap Knishes featuring Mr Fantastic and the Madlib produced One Beer. Again Doom isn’t shy around the MPC- lots of samples from everywhere; 70’s TV, 80’s hip hop (the Whodini sampling Deep Fried Friendz) and of course Spider Man and Fantastic Four.
VAUDEVILLE VILLAIN - This album is the first of Dumiles records that I aquired. Released under the Viktor Vaughn moniker (as in Victor Von Doom) it seems to explore the darker side of the mans personality. Beginning with a Spiderman sampling “overture”, the album then goes on somewhat of a futurist trip. But, as evidenced by the Open Mic Nite skits pt 1 & 2, his sense of humor is obviously still intact. Production duties this time were outsourced, mainly to SoundInk’s Heat Sensor and King Honey. His flow is generally more straight forward b-boy this time, but there is still plenty of variety. Whether it be the IDM crunch of Raedawn or the skewed RJD2 produced ballad Let Me Watch Vik Vaughn hits all the right spots.
SPECIAL HERBS & SPICES VOLS. 1-9 - Prodigious beatsmith that he is, Doom uses the Metal Fingers alias for this collection of his instrumental beats and pieces. Features instrumentals from Operation Doomsday and MM… Food among many others. Lots of wanky 70's instrument samples transformed into Dumile's signature-style catchy minimalism.
In addition to solo work, he's collaborated with some of the games finest, Madlib (as Madvillain) and Danger Mouse (as Danger Doom) to be specific.
MADVILLAINY In retrospect, with the way these two dig(for) samples, this colab was probably enevitable. Conceptually, it might be the illest hip hop LP to drop in at least a decade. Getting villainous over 20 tracks of slick, tricked out jazz, Doom and Madlib imagine themselves as a pair of arch supervillians bent on plunder and world domination. The beats here are some of Madlibs finest, and if you are at all familiar with the staggering output of the Beat Konducta (he put out 3 other albums that year alone) you'll know thats saying something. M.E.D., Wildchild, and Quasimoto all show up to drop guest verses.
THE MOUSE AND THE MASK After the Grey Album and before the phenomenon of Gnarles Barkley, Danger Mouse produced this criminally overlooked cartoon themed gem with Doom. A collaberation with the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, of which this record samples generously from. Considering Dumiles, cartoon fetish and the fact that he, Danger Mouse and Cartoon Network are all based out of Atlanta this was a natural collab. And because it's an Adult Swim joint there's original dialogue from Space Ghost, Brak, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sealab, etc. The beats are just bangin! The cameos are few, but quality. Ghostface drops some fiya on The Mask and Talib Kweli spits it proper on Old School.
Dumile’s route to the top (well top of the indy tastemakers lists) was drawn out and quite bumpy- frought with setbacks that lesser men might have succombed to. Dude has payed his dues no doubt! His first release was way back in 1991. At the time he was calling himself Zev Love X. The record, which was a collaberation with his brother DJ Subroc, was titled Mt. Hood and released under the alias KMD. Just before the release of the second KMD record, Subroc died tragicly in an automobile acident; KMD was dropped from Elektra and the album Black Bastards was shelved. Dumile dissapeared from the scene for the next 5 years or so, resurfacing at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe open mic as the masked supervillain MF Doom. He hasn't publicly broken character since.