On the eve of his re-release of Operation Doomsday, MF Doom finds himself in the dark alleys of Philly as the first line up to Fluid’s monthly Oratory Explaratorium. Who is this masked marvel that came to destroy rap in the city of brotherly beats?
At 29 years of age Doom, who many remember as Zevlove X from KMD’s production on the 3rd Bass album Derelicts of Dialect, is beginning to see the fruits of his labor. He has put together a masterful blend of smooth melodic beats and licorice rhymes, originally released by Fondle ‘EM Records (Bobbito "Cucumberslice" Garcia’s label) and now re-released by Subverse Music. The supped-up Subverse release contains additional graph drawings, a Shockwave video and a new track added.
"I hooked up with Subverse through my man Big Jus, from Company Flow. He was diggin’ the album. At the time, availability of the CD was limited; it wasn’t as widespread as it could be. But it was quite popular as I hear. Jus saw it as an opportunity to help the album get exposure, the exposure that it deserved to get. So I licensed it to Subverse, so they could take care of getting it to into the stores it needed to be in."
Jus had to like it, because not only is Subverse bringing the second coming of Doomsday, but they decided to re-release the KMD album Black Bastards as well.
The super villain’s promotional appearance in Philly showed a little of what Jus must have seen in his work.
Doom’s live set consists of a CD pressed with his homemade concoctions of tracks and himself. No DJ, no live music, just what he produces at home in his studio.
To say that it’s refreshing to see someone with such a "Do It Yourself" attitude doesn’t do justice to the structure that Doom’s work is based upon.
"I’m like this, I started out in this hip hop game DJ-ing, and then I gradually started writing lyrics, in like ‘82 or ‘83, and then graduated to the graffiti school of things. That was my hip hop upbringing. So I’m well versed in all aspects. If I need to make a beat, I can make a beat. If I have a verse, I’ll just make a beat." (He even drew the cover art for CD)
"No one can capture what I’m trying to represent better than me. I have the image right here in my head. Even if it were a stick figure drawing, it’s still most accurate coming from me. I figure cut to the chase and eliminate the middleman. The one thing I don’t do is make my own masks. I have a new mask; the other one got fucked up. I lost it in LaGuardia Airport." ( Doom refuses to be seen or photographed without his "doom mask.")
Doom’s inventive approach to his music is amplified in "Tick, Tick" which features incarcerated partner MF Grimm. The song experiences tempo changes forcing Doom and Grimm to mimic tempo changes of the beat.
"I did the beat and I came up with the track first. I always try to come with something that no one else is doing. So I’m searchin’ for that little niche and I found it with the tempo change. Most people stick to the standard 1-2-3-4 computerized shit. I like to break that barrier up. Using the computer to time music, to me, takes something away from the soul of the music, so I did that to put that it back into the music. I still use the technology, but I keep it loose."
MF Grimm (Doom’s cohort and fellow member of KMD) came up with the rhyme flow. "As soon as he heard the beat, he had a flow to it. Certain MC’s are just like that. The beats I do I might not have anything written over it, nobody could be feelin’ it and play it for this one cat and he’ll be like "Yo that’s the shit."