Daniel Dumile, the reclusive musician who carried out as the masked villain MF Doom, died on Oct. 31 at 49, although the information wasn’t revealed till New Yr’s Eve. Dumile spent greater than twenty years as some of the recognizable and beloved artists in underground hip-hop, a rapper recognized for his surprising phrase selections and complex stacks of rhymes.
Nevertheless, Dumile’s impression went far past his formidable microphone abilities. Hiding his face behind a metallic masks in public appearances — if exhibiting up for them in any respect — he separated his phrases from his individual, uncommon in a style steeped in self-aggrandizement and diaristic writing. His loyalty to unbiased labels like Stones Throw, Rhymesayers, Lex, Nature Sounds and Epitaph lower a path throughout the music trade’s established equipment. His beatmaking was idiosyncratic, sampling ’80s quiet storm information as a substitute of ’70s arduous funk, and he performed the MPC sampler in a method that exposed the seams. “Madvillainy,” his breakthrough 2004 collaboration with the producer Madlib as Madvillain, eschewed conventional songcraft for a psychedelic, dreamlike swirl of concepts.
His affect is obvious within the output of musicians working contemporaneously over the previous twenty years — rappers, singers and producers each contained in the hip-hop world and past it. Listed here are 11 examples of how Doom’s aesthetic selections seeped into the inventive impulses of a number of generations.
Aesop Rock, ‘Flashflood’ (2001)
With three 12-inch singles launched on the radio character Bobbito Garcia’s Fondle ’Em Information within the late ’90s, MF Doom was a part of an early wave of “underground hip-hop” musicians, beats-and-rhymes-centered purists recording on unbiased labels between 1997 and 2004. On the time, Dumile was already a major-label casualty. Performing as Zev Love X within the early ’90s group KMD, he was dropped from Elektra amid an argument over the trio’s incendiary album artwork. Reinventing himself as MF Doom, his early songs helped present there was a sustainable path exterior of the system. The rapper Aesop Rock was raised on KMD and his music equally navigates labyrinthine patterns, pop-culture detritus and SAT vocabulary phrases. He grew to become one of many signature acts on two labels that have been standard-bearers of mid-00s underground rap, El-P’s Definitive Jux and Environment’s Rhymesayers. In a verse on a current MF Doom tribute, Aesop claims to have bought his 1999 demo exterior of a Doom present on the shuttered East Village membership Brownie’s.
Ghostface Killah that includes Wu-Tang Clan, ‘9 Milli Bros.’ (2006)
Again when the traces between underground and mainstream hip-hop have been drawn a lot thicker, it was unheard-of for a platinum Def Jam artist just like the Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah to seize from the lo-fi, gritty, subterranean noise of beatmakers like MF Doom and J Dilla. Plucking some beats from Doom’s 10-volume “Particular Herbs” collection for his fifth album, “Fishscale,” Ghostface not solely amplified Doom’s off-balance rhythmic genius, however earned himself a crucial re-appreciation within the course of. “He’s an incredible artist,” Ghostface advised Mass Enchantment in 2005. “He’s like me in a method, very inventive.”
Thom Yorke, ‘Black Swan’ (2006)
“Finally to me it’s not rapping in any respect, it’s poetry,” Radiohead’s Thom Yorke told Dazed about his favourite rapper. “The best way he free-forms his verses and places all of it collectively, I don’t suppose anybody else fairly does it like that.” In 2007, between releasing his acclaimed, amorphous, beatwise solo debut “The Eraser” and Radiohead’s acclaimed, amorphous, beatwise seventh album, “In Rainbows,” Yorke dropped a playlist of 10 favourite songs of the second. Two of them featured Doom’s rhymes.
Danny Brown, ‘Adderall Admiral’ (2011)
“I by no means knew you may make a whole album with out hooks and have it sound that good,” Danny Brown told Complex about one in every of his favourite LPs, “Madvillainy.” “That album confirmed me that music has no guidelines. Earlier than that I believed you wanted 16 bars and hooks to make a very good music.” Brown has emerged as some of the profitable underground rappers of the final 10 years because of his personal uncompromising imaginative and prescient. His breakthrough, “XXX” from 2011, had fleshed-out songs and spiraling slivers like “Adderall Admiral,” a 103-second tune constructed on an particularly noisy pattern from post-punk band This Warmth.
The Weeknd, ‘Loft Music’ (2012)
The chart-topping, Tremendous Bowl halftime-headlining famous person the Weeknd is an avowed MF Doom fan, posting about him on Instagram and lately paying tribute with a number of songs on his Apple Music radio present. Although the Weeknd makes extra hedonistic, retro-flavored R&B, it’s arduous to not think about that the artist born Abel Tesfaye didn’t take some classes about constructing mystique from the metal-faced rapper. Tesfaye initially broke by after posting songs like “Loft Music” in 2010 with full anonymity. He has lately taken to performing together with his face coated in bandages and prosthetics.
Earl Sweatshirt, ‘Chum’ (2013)
When the then-teenage rapper Earl Sweatshirt grew to become a viral success in 2010, his lyrics have been completely bulging with delirious assonance and bonkers imagery: “Twisted, sicker than mad cattle, actually I’m off six completely different liquors with a Prince wig plastered on.” It’s no shock that he studied Doom, finally serving to to construct a small rap empire with the Odd Future collective. Songs like “Chum” not solely spiral with Doom’s elaborate wordsmithing, however together with his dazed, woozy moods as properly. “I primarily based numerous the methods I used to be attempting to rap off his [expletive] after I was studying the way to do it,” Earl mentioned to the guerrilla interviewer Nardwuar in 2014.
Jinsang, ‘Affection’ (2016)
A small trade of “chillhop” artists have been making downtempo, fuzzed-out atmospheric beats, finest recognized by the web reputation of “lofi hip-hop radio — beats to relax/study to.” Although the “lo-fi hip-hop” subgenre is usually impressed by the Detroit pattern innovator J Dilla and Japan’s jazz-flecked Nujabes, it additionally owes a debt to Dumile’s “Particular Herbs” collection of instrumentals recorded as Metallic Fingers. As a producer, he usually painted with nostalgic and dreamy instruments, borrowing from quiet storm R&B, jazz-funk, smooth rock and Sade. Although the California beatmaker Jinsang is comparatively unknown, this music has greater than 61 million streams on Spotify,
Open Mike Eagle, ‘No Promoting (Uncle Butch Pretending It Don’t Damage)’ (2017)
The Los Angeles rapper Open Mike Eagle adored Doom’s capacity to seek out success doing the issues he beloved most about rap: “the liberty to pattern and rhyme over no matter loop appeals to you,” Eagle told Vice. “To be motivated to go as loopy with the wordplay as attainable.” Eagle is famend for his tough punch traces — he briefly had a Comedy Central present the place Doom supplied a rap on Episode 2. And like Doom, Eagle just isn’t afraid to deal in large ideas or step exterior of himself. On his critically acclaimed LP “Brick Physique Youngsters Nonetheless Daydream,” he raps truths and fictions about Chicago’s notoriously mismanaged housing challenge Robert Taylor Properties.
Your Previous Droog, ‘Grandma Hips’ (2017)
Maybe no trendy rapper embodies Doom’s penchant for bugged-out references and architectural rhyme schemes higher than Brooklyn’s Your Previous Droog, a person who as soon as boasted, “Whereas I used to be ensuring each bar is difficult/You herbs was taking part in Pokémon, chasing Charizard.” When his profession started, Droog took Doom’s reclusiveness to coronary heart, resulting in an web conspiracy principle that he was truly Nas in disguise. “I don’t wish to be strolling round on a regular basis like I’m this rapper man,” he told Spin about his early choice to stay nameless. “I discovered that from my favourite rapper, MF Doom — how he approached it, doing interviews. Folks get caught up in these characters, begin believing that’s them.”
KeiyaA, ‘Manner Eye’ (2020)
“DOOM was my favourite MC and producer,” the Chicago avant-R&B auteur KeiyaA posted on Twitter, including that he “actually confirmed me a brand new strategy to emote, the way to be trustworthy in my expressions, the way to construct worlds.” Her debut, “Endlessly, Ya Lady!,” has a little bit of Doom’s home-brewed grit in its lo-fi textures and pattern pileups.
Westside Gunn that includes Conway the Machine and Benny the Butcher, ‘George Bondo’ (2020)
Up to date underground rap is exploding with rhymers that work in the identical mannequin as Doom circa “Madvillainy”: rattling off extremely technical bars, usually delivered with a simple cool. Two of his late-’90s friends — Roc Marciano and Ka — rebooted themselves a couple of decade in the past, and there’s been no scarcity of ice-cold precisionists of their wake. Hottest in the meanwhile is Buffalo’s Griselda collective, which incorporates Conway the Machine, Benny the Butcher and Westside Gunn, who collaborated with Doom on a two-song 12-inch in 2017. On “George Bondo,” Benny the Butcher raps, “Assume it’s a recreation till I Patrick Kane any person homie/That’s slidin’ by with a stick, shootin’ one by the goalie.”