Celebrating the life of one of the most underrated rappers of all time is never easy, especially when, like MF Doom, their star was extinguished too soon. However, at least we can take some joy in ensuring that the great man’s work is never lost and his artistic prowess is preserved for generations to come.
MF Doom was one of the biggest names in the underground hip-hop music industry. He was a rapper, songwriter and music producer that created work that other artists fawned over. The rapper’s death was announced on New Year’s Eve, and ever since, we’ve been immersing ourselves in everything that made MF Doom great. His music remains some of the most memorable creations in all hip-hop, and his contribution to the culture will never be underestimated.
What’s interesting about MF Doom is the change of pace and themes of his songs was something that he very consciously did, as a performer. He created these different personas from whose perspectives the songs were sung.
So, ‘Doomsday’ was by the character Doom, shaped by the iconic Gladiator-inspired metal mask. ‘Lickupon’ was by the character Viktor Vaughn, inspired by the Marvel character Dr Victor Von Doom. Viktor Vaughn was unlike Doom in the sense that the former was a villain with a looser tongue who relished in all things vulgar.
With such a varied, yet well-thought-out and intricately designed performance of some of the greatest songs in hip hop culture, Daniel Dumile, best known as MF Doom, it’s no surprise that he also has a hefty back catalogue of music to dip into. An album and a record for every occasion, below, we’ve picked out the top five albums from MF Doom.
MF Doom’s five best albums:
5. Mm..Food (2004)
Concept albums can feel a bit hacky in the wrong hands. When Doom pitched Mm.. Food a record that had its base in the culinary world; the record producers sat around him must have scoffed.
Rather than fold under that pressure, Doom clearly knew that he had everything he needed on his plate to not only provide a killer concept record, songs that will live on forever, but through tracks like ‘Beef Rap and ‘Hoe Cakes’, he also dissed half the rap game too.
4. The Mouse And The Mask (2005)
Doom was one a hell of run when he released 2005’s The Mouse And The Mask. Following the huge success of Mm.. Food, Vaudeville Villainy and Madvillainy MF Doom was attracting some big names, including Danger Mouse, who had gained fame for creating The Grey Album — a mash-up of Jay-Z’s Black Album and The Beatles’ White Album.
He’s not the only high-profile addition to the record; Ghostface Killah, Cee-Lo Green, and Talib Kweli all add verses yet Doom still reigns supreme as the chief lyricist.
3. Operation: Doomsday (1999)
Having taken some time off to grieve the loss of his brother KMD, AKA Daniel Dumile, had to realign his values and reconnect with another side of himself. Rather than recoil into darkness, MF Doom was born, and the rest is history.
The record is widely regarded as one of his best and saw MF Doom hit the big time with the hip hop heads in the know. This was the launchpad of a true great.
2. Vaudeville Villain (2003)
Rather than get stuck in a rut after the millennium, MF Doom decided to split his time efficiently and split his personalities, too, releasing two records in 2003 under two different aliases. While one of those albums King Geedorah allowed Doom to focus on production, it was on Vaudeville Villain that showcased his lyrics.
That’s not to say that the beats on Vaudeville Villain are in any way sub-standard but that it is his potent lyricism which takes the top spot. The record provided creative energy that is unmatched across the entire discography, this one is a masterstroke.
1. Madvillainy (2004)
There was never really any doubt as to which record would sit atop our top five. 2004’s Madvillainy may have a reputation as the ultimate college bro hip hop album, but it achieved such a record by being an accessible masterclass in artistry. To recognise this album as anything but pure and unadulterated art is to miss the point of the LP entirely.
This album redefined what hip hop’s underground looked like and proved that the dirt from down below could reach the top. It launched the careers of MF Doom and Madlib so effortlessly that they now remain household names. Front to back brilliant.