Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Doom - Born Like This

The masked villain returns once more to supply us with a lyrical fix. Doom (he’s dropped the MF apparently) brings the goods over seventeen tracks and the rhymes are at least on par with anything he's ever done-- haters be damned***. With the last couple of releases (especially The Mouse & The Mask) his demeanor had become relaxed, his tone buttery smooth, and his lyrical content, especially whimsical. Not so with Born Like This. There is an urgency in his timbre and delivery not heard since Viktor Vaughn. Lyrically, the content is darker and cynical; veiled political references abound.

Though not of Madvillain or DangerDoom caliber, the beats definitely slap. Doom flipped about half of them himself, and the rest have been outsourced to worthy hands. Madlib, as one would expect, hooks up the decidedly jazz-tinged number Absolutely. Jay Dee, having assumed near martyr status in the hip hop game, posthumously provides a pair. Gazillion Ear and Light Works, though not particularly similar, have that unmistakable Dilla characteristic… uh, what is it? Oh yeah, quality. Jake One, who I know nothing about, drops four of the hottest tracks on the album. The the way he programs his drums, and his delicate touch with various sampled keys etc. evoke Dilla or Madlib, but without sounding like blatant biting. The villains beats don’t slouch either. For fans of his signature, lo-fi minimalism, check the Charlies Angels sampling collab with Ghostface, Angelz . In addition to Ghost; Raekwan, Slug, Kurios and Empress Starh make appearances. The guest spots are, as always, top notch.

With all the different chefs in the kitchen one might think that the record would lack cohesion. But, Dooms style is quite distinctive and the whole thing is stitched together by the Fantastic Four and Spider Man samples that have become a hallmark of his work. On the whole I would say that, though this might not be my favorite release, it’s definitely worth bagging if you’re a fan. And if you’re new to this mans work its as good a place as any to start with.


***(Didn’t include this on my last post, but there has been some controversy over an alleged hoax. Supposedly Doom sent an impostor to gigs in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Internet is now full of hurt and angry nerds who: “can’t believe Doom would do this to his biggest fan!”. I would reply that the man is a super villain and doesn’t break character …ever! He’s even got a line in One Beer, as someone else pointed out ,where he explicitly says he plot shows like robberies/in and out 1, 2, 3/No bodies pleased” And also, Doom makes great records but as performing MC, he just might not be all that good anyway.)

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