Review Summary: Tastiness from Daniel Dumile's second release under MF DOOM.
Superheroes are so boring. What are they even good for" Sure, they may save a couple of lives from a giant flying squid that shoots fire from its eyes, prevent a few gang rapes in dark alleys, but what fun is the world without any naughtiness" All they do is ruin the good times. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see a death ray destroy Europe, or an army of robot vampires enslave us" If it were up to that prude Superman, we’d all be a bunch of Amish people living dull, “innocent” lives. Evil is the spice of life, from kindergarteners throwing mud at old people, to crystal meth labs, and Daniel Dumile clearly knows that, adopting a persona that’s the biggest super villain of all, MF DOOM. He originally emerged on the scene as Zev Lov X of the heat seeking group KMD in the early 90s, but after the shelving of their second album and the death of his DJ and brother Subroc, Dumile fell off the scene, becoming homeless for many years. Years later, a metal-masked emcee emerges, and it’s Dumile behind the disguise, hiding his “scars” that the industry left on him. With such a morbid history and a supposedly evil persona, the amount of entertaining weirdness surrounding him comes as a surprise at first. Or maybe it sounds so ridiculous that it’s not surprising at all. What’s DOOM’s latest evil mischief" Making an album about food, oh the humanity!
Preceding MM.. Food
were high concept albums consisting of things like a three-headed monster rapping and shadowy city tales, this is the closest Doom has gotten to a “casual” album in a long time. He’s much more down-to-earth here, melding various everyday philosophies, stories, and lessons of life with food allusions and metaphors to varying degrees of coherence, such as Deep Fried Frenz
, Doom’s rant about the fakeness and downside of friends, like how everyone loves having deep fried food, even though it’ll guarantee a triple bypass in the future, he shows how both have similar up and down sides. Kookies
takes a blunter path in literality, the cookies simply being “ass nekkid females”, and coherence dies away as he uses cookie brands to express himself; “now it gets very serious like Peek Freans”. The absurdity of it matched with Doom’s deadpan delivery makes it as entertaining as something that did make sense, like if the Aqua Teen Hunger Force spat rhymes. Despite assuming a havoc wreaking persona, Doom’s flow is aloof, almost to the point where sarcasm sometimes can’t even be detected. His rhymes have an eccentric sloppiness reminiscent to Kool Keith
, sometimes cramming twice as many words into a line as the last like, vastly littering obscure and nonsensical references within his verses. His erratic switching between third and first person add to the peculiarity of his storytelling, the unconventionality of his techniques making him a divisive figure among many hip hop fans.
While his voice has become less emotive and more like a continuous soulful slur since his first solo album, Operation Doomsday
, released five years before this (everything in between has been under other aliases or as collaborations,) his production has become more diverse and upfront. He mixes glossy keyboards with pungent bass, loopy guitar lines with steady percussive to counteract the bounciness of his samples, including music from Sesame Street. Hoe Cakes
is one of his most distinctively “Doom” beats, based on a funky rhythm with what sounds like lip-smacking noises instead of drums, under a lustrous piano cushioned by symphonic strings, the mixture of funkiness and suaveness perfectly hugging cheeky Doom’s rap about keeping hoes in check. Metal Fingers’ love of jazz inflicts a laid back mood to some of the tracks, Kon Karne
featuring a noodling piano line accompanying a hollow rhythm as Doom remembers his days as a homeless alcoholic and his late brother DJ Subroc.
Like Operation: Doomsday
, MM.. Food
is weighed down by the amount of skits on the album. The middle section of the album is essentially a collage of spoken samples ranging from someone rambling about food to sound bites from the Fantastic Four show (which included Dr. Doom, where Dumile based his character from,) over half-baked beats, adding more skit baggage already included at the beginning and end of many songs. Though the album still flows with some success with these skits, there’s too much of it compared to how many actual songs there are, whereas Operation: Doomsday
had more actual songs to fight the plague of skits. His collaboration album with producer Madlib, Madvillainy
, showed how concise and easy flowing Doom can get, the songs being considerably shorter, making this look even more unwieldy. But since Madlib isn’t on here to keep it strictly to business, another Madvillainy wasn’t expected anyway. The help Doom does get is well used, the deep voiced Mr. Fantastik on the infectiously catchy Rapp Snitch Knishes
balances Doom’s raspy voice perfectly. Some of the best lyrics on the album aren’t even by MF Doom... or by a man! Angelika poetically takes the point of view of a hopeless woman in a failed relationship on the R&B tinged Guinesses
, featuring no rhyming from Doom himself. And I thought women were only good for making food for their superior counterpart. Ironically, I also realized male rappers can be good at cooking up sweets.