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"Came To Destroy Rap": The MF Doom Story

A little birdie once came to me in a dream and showed me a song I couldn't get out of my head. I understood once I listened to MF Doom, rap would never be the same for me.

MF Doom's influence on the music world goes far beyond  hip-hop. From established rap icons to emerging indie artists, Doom's artistry has left an indelible mark.

Daniel Dumile, better known as the mysterious masked MC, MF Doom, branded the rap industry with his unique and never-seen-before style. Doom has developed a cult following throughout the years while being mainly unknown to mainstream audiences. He stands out due to the fact that he is not just a fan favourite but also well-respected by other musicians who have been highly influenced by this enigmatic persona. Doom changed the rap scene in a way no one saw coming. In this article, I will try to break down your favourite rapper's favourite rapper.

True Villainy

Anyone familiar with Doom’s discography knows his views on fascism, capitalism and the music industry have always been negative to put it lightly. On October 19, 1999, MF DOOM released "Operation: Doomsday," an underground rap album known for its clever lyrics, self-production, and hysterical portrayal of the artist as the freshly established MF DOOM persona, based off of Fantastic Four’s archnemis Dr. Doom. While the album has matured to become one of the best underground rap albums of the '90s, a closer examination exposes something more sinister behind the comic book façade - DOOM's subversive intents towards the rap business.

Doom's songs have always ridiculed rap industry standards like as excessive jewellery spending and bragging about financial status. He spoke out against the genre's materialistic ethos, emphasising the value of the music itself. In one of his songs “Rapp Snitch Knishes,” Doom has tackled the topic of "snitching" in rap songs in an incredibly funny way. (RIP Doom, gone too soon.)

Operation: Doomsday is MF DOOM's first solo album. After K.M.D.'s passing, DOOM's album signalled his comeback to the hip hop industry. It was made available by Fondle 'Em Records in January 1999.
Operation: Doomsday is MF DOOM's first solo album (image via STREETOPIA)

Doom's employment of imposters, known as "DoomBots," at live events was another hilarious but contentious move. He frequently dispatched "DoomBots" to perform in his stead, alleging different reasons such as payment problems or a lack of patience. He justified the practice as part of his persona and a means to emphasise that it is about the music rather than his physical presence.

Your Favourite Rapper’s Favourite Rapper

Many artists (including mine and your favourite) have a profound love and respect for the masked villain. From hip-hop titans to indie artists, MF Doom has impacted and inspired a diverse spectrum of performers. (If I were to list all of them here, I would be here all day, so here’s some of them that I listen to all day every day and some that you might listen to all day every day.)

Donald Glover, better known as Childish Gambino, credits MF Doom as an influence on his early projects. He also references Doom in his song "That Power," as he spent his undergraduate years listening to Doom's music. Gambino admires Doom's unique voice, comic book references, and punchline raps.

Tyler, the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, and Frank Ocean—all former members of the rap group Odd Future—are huge admirers of MF Doom. They have publicly acknowledged their affinity for Doom, with Tyler and Earl even attending a show during their 2013 European tour. Frank Ocean was spotted wearing a counterfeit MF Doom mask in an Instagram picture from 2018, Expressing his respect for the artist.

An iconic photo of MF DOOM and Kanye West
An iconic photo of MF DOOM and Kanye West (via r/HipHopImages)

Drake, someone we all know as a well-known musician, has also recognised the impact of MF Doom on his work. He shared a link to an MF Doom song on Twitter and shared an Instagram picture of the "Madvillainy" album cover. Drake has been praised for his appreciation of underground hip-hop, as seen by his allusions to Doom.

The relationship between MF Doom and Kanye West is largely indirect with few direct allusions. In contrast, Doom acknowledged in a 2012 interview that he would want to collaborate with Kanye. This implies that there was some sort of relationship or respect between the two artists.

Radiohead's Thom Yorke has talked about his appreciation for MF Doom's distinct aesthetic and skill with words. He worked with Doom on a number of tracks, demonstrating their appreciation for one another.

Remember ALL CAPS When You Spell The Man Name

The impact MF Doom had on the music industry goes well beyond just hip-hop. Doom's talent has made an enduring impression on everyone from well-known rap artists to up-and-coming independent musicians. A new generation of musicians has been inspired by his rich poetry, unabashed inventiveness, and dedication to his craft, and they are continuing to honour his legacy. MF Doom may no longer be with us, but his influence on the world of music will live on, inspiring musicians to stay loyal to their vision and do what they love.

The British-American rapper and producer MF Doom's fifth studio album, Mm..Food, was made available through Rhymesayers in November 2004.
MM... Food, the fifth studio album by MF Doom (Image Via STREETOPIA)

You should listen to the underground musician for yourself and witness the magic he does. I would suggest "Operation: Doomsday," "MM..Food," and "Madvillaniy" to new listeners. They should also check out his numerous other aliases, like Metal Fingers and King Geedorah, to name a few.


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