Much like the supervillain with whom he shares his namesake,
there is no stopping MF Doom. Previously known as Victor Vaughn, he
is currently operating under the moniker Madvillain with fellow
dastardly evil-doer and underground producer extraordinaire Madlib.
Both MF and Madlib are known for their skills behind the boards,
but for their latest release, Madvillainy, MF took charge of
the vocals and Madlib took the production helm.
The result is akin to the most drugged-out Marvel comic never
published. There are 22 tracks on this collaboration (there are
also 22 pages to a comic book), and many of them run for a minute
or two, with few tracks actually adhering to traditional song
structure. MF doesn’t let things like choruses and bridges
get in his path. The haphazard structure of the record feels like
Madlib and MF recorded as much of a song as possible and fled
before their secret lair was discovered.
This may be due, in part, to the fact that the album was leaked
on the Internet well before it was released. As a result, many
songs — some of high quality — were dropped and
completely new ones were recorded. Fortunately, forcing some
last-minute creativity turned out pretty well. Between sampling
“Street Fighter” sound effects, old film noir clips and
whatever else he could get his hands on, Madlib fits MF’s
oddball style. On a few cuts, Madlib takes full control and goes
the solo instrumental route.
Lyrically, MF Doom is as sharp as on his last project,
Vaudeville Villain. Although the drive-by lyrical assault of
the tracks doesn’t allow for the same absorbing type of story
raps as on Vaudeville, it’s simply difficult for MF to be
anything but fun. With lines like “Got lyrics like the church
got ‘oh lords’ ” and “Egads! He got enough
style to start three fads,” MF keeps things witty and fun.
“Figaro” serves as the album’s lyrical banger.
Madvillainy is strong, but many of the songs end just as you
really get into it.
Underground rap music is often labeled as overly conscious. Too
frequently, the genre is labeled as only talking about the stars,
moon and going back to Africa. That being said, Madvillainy
is easily as comical as anything ever released by Redman or
Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
With an endless supply of quality projects and bizarre
offshoots, MF Doom is assuming the role of hip-hop bizarro Kool
Keith and it might not be long before we get a Dr. Octagon.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.