Review Summary: This is super serious business.
If Doom isn’t one of the more interesting characters in rap, he certainly is one of the weirdest out of them. Mixing Kool Keith’s multiple personalities with comic book wonder, Doom formulates his persona from Dr. Doom, and wears a mask to cover his *HIDEOUS* face. At this point, though, this is common knowledge in the underground circles of hip hop, and no longer needs to be mentioned. Instead, it is mentionable that this is an album that is not under his lighter, funkier MF DOOM or generally mixed King Geedorah, but rather it’s labeled under the much more antagonistic moniker Viktor Vaughn. Vaudville Villain
is Viktor Vaughn at his best, with complex, wordy MCing and violent, low key, and drab instrumentation setting an altogether eerie mood with some oddball inconsistency taking away from absolute perfection.
The album kicks off with the title track, with Viktor Vaughn’s possibly most energetic and awake flow ever mixed with a scrambling whirlwind of superhero samples, fuzzy guitars and a pounding drum track. Although on a more energetic level than most of the record, the dark mood continues throughout the record. Vaudville Villain
plays off Vaughn’s antagonistic character, favoring low key electronics and pure minimalism over organic samples and fuller sounds of Operation Doomsday
. Hallow and empty, the simplistic drum programming, buzzing electronics create the sort of environment proper for such an antagonistic villain like Vaughn. Examples include King Honey’s “A Dead Mouse”, which takes the generic Hindi sample shtick in rap and creates a seriously eerie track with it, while Heat Sensor’s “Raedawn” takes synthesizer atmospherics and plays like villainous elevator music for Viktor Vaughn to destroy.
Viktor Vaughn even sounds noticeably sleeper here to an effect. However, his flow strays a bit for the effect of many tracks. While “Vaudville Villain”, “Saliva”, and “Mr. Clean” come from a more playful character, perhaps DOOM coming to visit, most of the tracks features more of DOOM’s almost purposefully stumbling and low key delivery. He packs all of his tracks with his syllables galore and tongue twisting, and even when he takes a small break from that (the awkward story-telling of a bad relationship with the inconsiderate Viktor Vaughn on “Let Me Watch”), he makes it very clear that it’s his forte. Naming dropping on Peter Parker, Transformers, and Donkey Kong all in the same song while contrasting excellently with the generic MCing of his partner M. Sayyid (on “Never Dead”) is certainly an accomplishment for an MC on its own terms.
But what’s more is the fact that Vaudville Villain
, despite its slip-ups both in mood and bad songs (“Let Me Watch” mostly), it’s a dark trip down the antagonistic darkness of Viktor Vaughn, an inconsiderate rhymer not really concerned with what anyone thinks. Vaudville Villain
is a solid trip, and certainly at least a little unusual, even for a DOOM record, worth a good look into, especially if you like most of your production sounding like it’s leading somewhere, rather than an anonymous bunch of beats from random producers across the board that sound nothing like each other. Next to Madvillainy
and MMM… Food
, a good introduction for DOOM, if less accessible than the former and a little lacking in highlights much unlike the later.