My life has had many different phases. I started out with the Power Ranger phases then moved on to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles after a few years I moved to the next logical step: Comic Books. There was Spiderman, X-Men and an early favorite the Fantastic Four. Well, I eventually moved on from Comic Books and Skateboarding into music. With Music it started out as Pop-Punk then Indie and finally I grew quite a liking for a genre I never would have thought of myself to like in my days as an Indie Fanatic: Hip-Hop. I started out with more electronic stuff like DJ Shadow and RJD2 and then moved into stuff like the Roots and Common. Well one day I was browsing for some new emcees to check out and I came across a man named MF Doom. Rhapsody claimed his sound included elements of Ghostface and RJD2, two of my favorites in the Hip Hop genre, but that wasn’t what appealed to me most. It was MF Doom’s face or rather lack of a face. You see, he wears a Doctor Doom mask, fellow comic book subscribers (or people who went to the movie to see Jessica Alba in a skintight super hero outfit) will know that Doctor Doom is the main villain in the Fantastic Four series. Well, I listened to a couple tracks and was instantly in love with Doom’s mellow, fast raps and relaxing beats and samples. Needless to say I went out and picked up his debut, Operation Doomsday and you are now reading what I think of it.
Operation introduced a fraction of the world to MF Doom’s clever lyricism and classic sounding beats. Unfortunately a large of fraction of the world has not been properly introduced to Doom. That is one of the main goals of this review.
Doom’s voice is one of the best parts about his sound. His voice soothes the soul while it blasts rhymes at about 100 words a minute. Second track Rhymes Like Dimes
is a perfect example of this. A soft psychedelic organ sample is looped throughout the song over a fairly standard drum beat. Rhymes like Dimes features some great lyrics.[i] Joker rhymes, like the "Is you just happy to see me?" trick/Classical slap-stick rappers need Chap stick/A lot of 'em sound like they in a talent show/So I give 'em something to remember, like the Alamo.[i] The vocal production sounds like Doom is a DJ on a radio, this seems cool at first but soon begins to get quite annoying. If you can overlook that (or like it) then this is a great song.
One of my biggest problems with Operation Doomsday is the similarities between some tracks. A good portion of the album the beats in these songs always consists of bass, a Fender Rhoades style organ riff and a fairly standard drum beat. The first few songs that fit this mold, Doomsday, Go With the Flow, etc are refreshing and awesome but the formula gets a little annoying when you are listening to the entire record. One good part about similarities between some tracks is the other tracks sound so refreshing Tick, Tick is a great example of this. Tick, Tick’s beat features a fairly sinister wouldn’t be out of place in an late 20’s movie string sample and a drum part that changes tempo every once in a while. Doom’s rapping is great. He isn’t exactly rapping 100 words a minute like Twista but his slower raps get the job done. My only problem with the song is the slowing down/speeding up of the beat can get annoying, but Doom’s clever lyrics save the track. My mind is Heaven's gate so enter me (enter me)/ My mind is the gate ta Hell so try ta flee (try ta flee)/Both gates look da same, which will it be.
Noise, reduced, MF thinks in Dolby/Chop that ass in half like Obi Wan Kenobi/Greatest of all time, God straight up told me/Greatest of all time, the Devil even told me.
Don’t get me wrong even the tracks with slightly samey beats can be amazing. Doomsday features samples of a 60’s electric piano, a girl singing light melodies and of course the obligatory bass and drums. None of these samples are the main focus of this song though. Doom’s rapping is stellar, as close to perfect as I have come upon in my short career as a Hip-Hop fan. Fiddy, Luda and The Game should be ashamed to call what they do rapping after hearing this. Something about Doom’s voice is so appealing, like he’s whispering the rhymes in your ears. An incredible song even if the beat sounds like about a third of this CD.
Every metal album back in the 80’s had to have the ballad. This album features it’s own ballad as well. Red & Gold holds up the ballad spot in this LP. Possibly the most complex beat on the album, R&G’s beat features multiple string samples, bass, electric piano, huge sounding drums, female vocals and even some Indian musical instruments. Doom’s vocals are amazing on this track. He uses his perfect rap voice to bring you lines like No science-fiction to no theater near you, coming soon to/Fuck with you frequently like how phases of the moon would do/You could gather 'round like it was an eclipse/Just don't look directly to the bitch, you may be blinded by the crips.
Quite possibly the best song on the CD.
Operation is full of odd little “Skits”. These skits feature a man talking about a person named Doom in a voice not out of place in an early 40’s movie. The beats that accompany these skits are great. Unlike Eminem’s skits Doom actually creates fairly cool electronica breaks in between his raps. Unfortunately the album features 4 or 5 of these bits which can get quite annoying.
Possibly the most amazing thing about this album is that Doom writes, raps and produces his own stuff. So when you listen to this you don’t hear Doom’s voice over 5 producer’s beats rapping 8 other writer’s songs. All you hear is MF Doom. He’s great at everything too, unlike other rappers who attempt to do everything late in their career cougheminemcough and fail. Doom is great at everything.
Not only is MF Doom a great producer/rapper/lyricist plain and simple, he also is one of the best collaborators in the rap biz. He has collaborated with everyone from Gorillaz (His rap on November Has Come [Demon Days] turned me onto Doom in the first place) to his most recent collaboration, with DJ Danger Mouse (Producer of Demon Days and The Grey Album) under the name DangerDoom. Doom also collaborates on this album, on tracks Who You Think I Am? A barrage of guest MCs throw down over a Doom created beat featuring a flute.
The album ends as it begins on a high note. During the last streak of 5 or so real tracks there isn’t a bad song. Of course there is hardly a bad song on the album.
Some fairly awesome skits
The skits kind of suck sometimes
Beats are kind of samey in the beginning
Final Rating: 4.65/5