MF DOOM: The supervillain that grew into a hero.
Daniel Dumile was born in London in 1971 and moved to Long Island, NY when he was young. He rapped under the moniker Zev Love X in the group KMD with his younger brother, DJ Subroc. They began to turn heads when they released their debut album “Mr. Hood” in 1991. KMD was set to release their sophomore album in 1993 when tragically, DJ Subroc passed away in a car accident at only 19 years old. DOOM called Subroc his “partner in crime.” That same week, KMD’s album “Black Bastards” was pulled by the label because of the controversial artwork and single “What a ***** Know?” DOOM fought to get it released, but couldn’t. The cover was symbolic of the album’s powerful lyrics revolving around Black issues in America.
Amidst his brother’s passing and KMD’s album not being able to be released, DOOM disappeared from the public eye while “recovering from his wounds.” He would spend the next few years quietly pushing to get the album released in any way, shape, or form.
A Supervillain is Born
In 1997, a mysterious character began performing at the Nuyorican Poets Café in New York with a stocking over his face. This character was revealed in 1999 to be a new supervillain known as MF DOOM with the release of Operation: Doomsday. Doomsday was an entirely unique project, featuring superhero themes and heavily sampled from the cartoon tv series Fantastic Four, whose villain Dr. Doom inspired the MF DOOM mask. Operation: Doomsday was critically acclaimed.
DOOM would go on to release several different projects under different names in the next few years. In 2004, he teamed up with legendary producer Madlib for the album Madvillainy, widely known as one of the greatest albums of all time due to its lyrical density and production. Projects like MM…FOOD, BORN LIKE THIS, and Czarface Meets Metal Face further cemented DOOM’s goat status. He had become one of the most iconic figures in hip hop while still never leaving behind his underground roots. In 2017, MF DOOM suffered the loss of his son, Malachi. The villain would continue to put out quality music, though was no doubt shaken by another death in the family.
On October 31, 2020, MF DOOM passed away at the age of 49. His family notified the public two months later. The hip hop world was devastated.
The Supervillain Lives On
It is no surprise that the man who suffered unbearable losses would look to villains for inspiration. Pain was central to his story as it is for so many supervillain origins. However, little did DOOM know that his supervillain persona would make him a hero for so many. MF DOOM’s music will continue to inspire MC’s for generations. His witty lyrics and profound concepts will continue to be studied. Someone once said his music is an “autopsy of the human condition,” and as is the human way, we will continue to embrace DOOM long after he is gone.
The hip hop community is broken but MF DOOM’s legacy will live on. Just remember ALL CAPS when you spell the man name.