Review Summary: We shall now vote for a new world leader, I nominate... DOOM!
While the man has laid largely dormant over the past few years, at one point, MF DOOM was churning out a spectacular amount of excellent music at an absurd rate. Over the course of 2003 and 2004, he released five albums, including the fantastic Madvillainy (with Madlib), Vaudeville Villain (under the guise of Viktor Vaughn) and of course, Mm.. Food, an album that easily stands with his best.
In a discography characterized by a lack of self-seriousness or almost anything resembling social commentary, Mm.. Food still emerges as DOOM’s most lighthearted album, which is in no way a bad thing. It’s a refreshing breath of fun, standing out from the masses of heavyhanded, heavyhearted albums. This light atmosphere largely stems from the fantastic, bouncy, bright and just all around awesome production. With the exception of Potholders and One Beer, the entire album was produced by DOOM himself and on it, he deftly samples his formidable catalogue of cheesy jazz and massive kick drums to summon up tons of cartoony, nostalgic imagery.
Mm.. Food also showcases DOOM’s great lyricism. He draws upon his usual mixture of obscure references and nimble wordplay, crafting deliciously complex rhymes. As an emcee, DOOM is always eminently clever and quotable, and here he is no different, consistently dropping verses like this one, from Beef Rapp:
“A rhyming cannibal who's dressed to kill and cynical
Whether is it animal, vegetable, or mineral
It's a miracle how he get so lyrical
And proceed to move the crowd like a old Negro spiritual”
Kookies (which was rereleased with an inferior beat on the 2007 reissue of the album) is perhaps the best song on the album. It has a fantastic beat, with infectious, huge booming drums as well as ringing bells and brass hits- samples pulled from the “funky chimes” Sesame Street closing music. It certainly speaks to DOOM’s skill as a producer that he can make music from a children’s show into a great hip-hop song, though equally interesting is his ability to turn hip-hop, a genre often concerned with being “hard” or “street”, into a place where children’s tv is right at home, and rappers name-drop the Teletubbies (as DOOM does on One Beer). It is this atmosphere of freedom and amusement that makes Mm.. Food so good and so refreshing. Another great song, Vomitspit, also boasts a great beat, with ringing keyboads and a groovy guitar line. It also has some of the best rapping on the album, with DOOM dropping juicy chucks of lyricism, like:
Take it like the good, the bad, the ugly
Break it rollin through ya hood in the cadi buggy
Butter softy, leather floss, and fatty juggy
Always threw me off when she told me daddy funk me”
Also among the best songs are: Deep Fried Frenz, which makes great use of a Whodini sample; Potholderz, which features a nice guest verse from Count Bass D and One Beer, a song cut from Madvillainy- though rightly so, as its bright vibe fits in far better here. However, true be told, there are really no bad or even mediocre tracks; both the rapping and production on Mm.. Food remain remarkable consistent.
That said, there is one part of the album that is somewhat problematic: the amount of skits. While quite entertaining as far as skits go, and thought they contain some great beats, the middle four songs on the album, lasting a combined six-and-a-half minutes, are purely skits. Nor are they the only skits on the album: Beef Rapp opens with nearly two minutes of skits, and a bunch of songs have a minute of so skit tacked on at the end. While their goofiness does enhance the cartoony nature of the album, my rough estimates point to there being roughly twelve minutes of skit on this fifty minute album, which has been shown to be too much skit for the average listener.
Skits aside, at the end of the day, Mm.. Food is a remarkably consistent album, with top-notch and highly distinctive production, not to mention great rapping. Out of one of the best discographies in hip-hop, Mm.. Food emerges as one of MF DOOM’s finest.