Review Summary: remember: ALL CAPS when you spell the name
Madvillainy is quite possibly the best rap album of 2004. It wins this award for being so creative with the music and the rapping. Yet it’s not just that. It’s the fact that Madlib and DOOM have such great chemistry when working together. It seems like Madlib knows exactly the right type of beat to make or use and MF Doom knows exactly what kind of flow and pacing needs to go over each tracks. There isn’t a moment where they don’t compliment each other’s style on Madvillainy. Doom’s signature flow rolls smoothly over complex beats that most rappers would flow awkwardly over. It seems Doom can rap over a beat and it will sound good. One of the perfect examples of this is when he is flowing over the sitar-laden beat of Meatgrinder
, he drops lyrics in a clear and concise manner that is fast paced yet completely intelligible. He also raps over a stop start rhythmic beat on America’s Most Blunted
where he keeps the pace going and the lyrics come quicker than the Flash. Speaking of lyrics, pretty much everything on this is quote-worthy. For instance, you may catch a sly reference to something obscure from the 80’s or 90’s or even basic references to food and the media. His punchlines are always very clever, like here
" Let he who is without sin cast the first stone
After you who's last, it's Doom, he's the worst known
That'll have your boom blown or even thirst bone
Rock it to a worst clone, just don't curse the throne
On his own microphone, bring it everywhere he go
So he can bring it to you live in stere-ere-o
Pan it, can't understand it, ban it
The underhanded ranted, planned it and left him stranded
The best, any who profess will be remanded
Yes sir, request permission to be candid" Granted
I don't think we can handle a style so rancid
They flipped it like matted, did the old jazz standard"
Now let’s see if you can catch all of the punchlines and metaphors within just that one verse. Some of the lyrics are repeated throughout the album but that’s okay because everything else makes up for it. Also, Doom is really good at hiding a British accent. Yes, there are still hints and traces of his accent here and there but he so cleverly disguises it that you’d think he was from New York or something. His voice is also instantly recognizable because of Doom’s deep bass and his monotone sound. His style definitely evolved from his early days because he gained a more recognizable sound. That would definitely help in his push of popularity from music critics to fans of indie-rock alike. Doom’s fan base is huge and that helped push him to make this record really great. Everything about it is top-notch from the mixing and mastering process, to the chemistry, to the vocals, and to even the beats.
Oh yeah, we can’t forget the other end of the spectrum that is the Madvillainy record. We’ve got renowned indie producer Madlib doing his thing on the beats. On every song except one, he takes some obscure jazz samples and puts them on self-created beats. His style of producing is minimalistic with complex drum-and-bass grooves and something jazzy laid over top. Not one beat sounds the same as the other beats. Madlib has truly shown his diversity and skill at making interesting beats for Doom to flow over. Hell, this would’ve been great as an instrumental album too. The beats are so deeply detailed and complex that they would be hard to flow over for any normal rapper. Somehow though, Doom just adapted his style and developed some of the most creative songs in rap history.
The two tiny problems with the album that prevents me from giving it a 5 is the number of instrumentals throughout and the lack of some decent choruses and hooks. There are way too many instrumentals on here for its own good. No matter how much I love Madlib, he could’ve taken off 2-3 of the short instrumentals. Also, despite having a few choruses here and there, the lack of any genuine hook or catchy chorus to a song is definitely off-putting. If you want to draw in new fans, you could have added a nice catchy hook. Definitely one of the best Rap records of 2004, if not one of the best Rap records ever made. 4.5/5