The Super Villain of rap

How the maddest of villains became the ill-est of rhymers.



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By Travis Moore, Staff Writer

MF Doom’s lyrical prowess is unparalleled; MF (Metal Fingers or Metal Face) Doom is the supervillain persona of Daniel Dumile, an English, US-based hip-hop producer and rapper. MF isn’t Dumile’s only persona though. He also has projects under the name Viktor Vaughn and King Geedorah. These personas allow Dumile to separate himself from the music and allows his characters to run wild on the tracks.

Dumile started his rapping career as a part of the hip-hop group KMD under the name Zen Love X with his brother DJ Subroc. The group’s first album, Mr. Hood, became a minor hit after songs like “Who Me?” and “Peachfuzz”.

Just before the release of their second album, Black Bastard, DJ Subroc was hit by a car and died. The album was released the week after the accident but was subsequently shelved due to the albums cover art depicting a cartoon of a stereotypical sambo character being hanged from the gallows. After his brother’s death, Dumile left the hip-hop scene and became as he described “damn near homeless”. He took this time to recover from his wounds but swore revenge against the industry that he felt had so badly deformed him. Bootleg copies of Black Bastard became a commodity during this time, giving Dumile an underground mythos.

Dumile began rapping again in 1997 at open mics around New York. This is when MF Doom was truly born; Doom wore a mask similar to that of the comic book villain Dr. Doom. He wore the mask to every show he performed and is never photographed without it. In 1999 Doom released his first full-length LP, Operation Doomsday. It’s our first glimpse of the genius behind the mask of MF Doom. In this album, he doesn’t truly utilize his patented multi-syllable abstract rhyming style but instead sits on pretty straightforward flows. His lyrics are still out of this world. The production is brilliant with sampling ranging from old jazz standard to the old Scooby Doo cartoons.

His lyrical prowess is unparrelled

On his next album, Doom decides to take on an entirely new persona, that of a three-headed monster. In 2003, he released King Geedorah’s Take Me To Your Leader. Dumile is credited as the producer but only raps on four of the tracks, leaving most of the lyrical duties to the group The Monsta Island Czars where each member took personas from various monster movies. The production may be Doom’s best. The concept is basically that since Geedorah is an alien he can’t communicate with us so he uses Doom and his raps as the messenger for him. This album also features one of Doom’s best songs “Anti-Matter” featuring longtime collaborator Mr. Fantastik.

After this album, Doom decided to take on yet another persona, that of young Viktor Vaughn who traveled from the year 1993 to 2003.  He comes at each song with a lot more energy than the calmer and laid back Doom. The production is by far the darkest on any Doom record. Dumile recruited a bunch of underground producers to make the beats he raps on and this just adds to Viktor’s personality. If he was just rapping on Doom beats, it’d feel like another Doom album, and not like a Viktor Vaughn album.

After Viktor’s first album Vaudeville Villain, Doom released MM Food where Doom showed the world who he really was. Doom truly shows why he’s a world-class rhymer on this record.