When word got out that my favorite rapper, MF Doom aka Viktor Vaughn, aka King Geedorah, died, my first reaction was shock, but my second reaction was disbelief. This is, after all, the same rapper who would send out Doom Imposters to live shows as another way to amplify his villainy (comedian Hannibal Buress has even admitted that he once donned the mask at an Adult Swim event and went on stage as an impersonator). But when more and more people started posting messages about how Doom (real name Daniel Dumile) was in fact deceased, well, I got really glassy eyed and a big lump formed in my throat.
Because as I said up top, MF Doom was/still is my favorite rapper. His creativity stretched out for miles, and it wasn’t just his gimmick of mimicking Marvel Comics Dr. Doom either, (Even though that was super dope, as well). No, it was his lyricism, and his production, much of which he put together himself when he wasn’t collaborating with others. But this article is all about his collaborations, both on TV and on record. You know, I really didn’t think there could be a bigger celebrity shock for me last year than Chadwick Boseman, but then, MF Doom's death happened and I’m really sad all over again. At least he’s back with his brother, DJ Subroc. I guess that’s something.
The Mouse And The Mask
For a lot of people, Adult Swim’s The Mouse and the Mask, was their first introduction to MF Doom. On this album, Doom rapped over Danger Mouse’s beats, with most of the songs having guest appearances from shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Sealab 2021.
In fact, this album was so popular that it even peaked at number 41 on the U.S. Billboard 200. You might think, number 41? That’s not so great. But MF Doom was never a mainstream rapper. Instead, he was always proudly underground and your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper. The fact that he could pair up with Space Ghost on a track like “Space Hos” and still crack the Billboard 200 is just further evidence that Doom could do pretty much anything he wanted and still make it sick as hell.
Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of Occult Hymn. I’m a mega fan of Doom’s who thought he listened to every one of his albums, only to realize that I missed this EP somewhere along the line. Jumping off the success of The Mouse and the Mask was this free download on Adult Swim’s website all the way back in 2006. This might be why I missed it. I didn’t even know about Adult Swim’s website back then.
The EP has 7 tracks, but 2 of them are skits, one of which features Master Shake and the other featuring Minoriteam (Remember that show?). I think this EP, Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!, and “Too Many Cooks” fully exemplify just how awesome Cartoon Network used to be back in the day.
Not so much a collaboration as more a perfect melding of song to series, but 4 songs on MF Doom’s masterpiece, Madvillainy (More on that shortly) appeared on The Boondocks. Three of those songs appeared on the same episode, “Let’s Nab Oprah,” with 1 of Doom’s best songs, “ALL CAPS” played while Huey fought Bushido Brown.
My good friend, James, who watched this episode, along with the episode “Wingmen” which featured the song “Fancy Clown” (which, by the way, also samples a song from an obscure progressive rock group called Gentle Giant) actually told me that he first heard of Doom through this show, and then went out to buy more of his albums. So, the Boondocks definitely helped to get Doom’s name out there even more to an all-new audience.
Doom has a lot of great albums, and if you want a sampling of some of his best work, I would suggest Operation Doomsday, Mm..Food (which is an anagram for MF Doom, by the way), and Vaudeville Villain. But, if you want the crème de la crème right off the bat, then I have to offer up his best album, Madvillainy, which was a collaboration that he had with the producer/rapper Madlib.
It’s just that every single track on this album stands alone as being great, but also flows so seamlessly from one track to the other that you have to kind of marvel at how it all came together. In an age when albums seem pretty much dead and everybody just downloads singles, Madvillainy is another reminder that putting two heads together is usually better than one. Especially when those two heads are MF. Doom and Madlib.
MF Doom’s Sampling
And last but not least, I just want to shout out that Doom sampled the weirdest, most wonderful sounds and songs on his tracks. While writing this article, I was listening to Doom, and in my playthrough of his various albums, I heard King Ghidorah shrieks, Chun-Li’s victory noise, and of course, samplings of Dr. Doom himself from the 1981 Spider-Man cartoon. In fact, one of my favorite songs, “Beef Rap” (go to 1:45) even samples the music from the Spider-Man cartoon for the beat (go to 15:34).
Yes, Doom’s greatest collaborations was probably always his nerdy personality and his rhyme flow, which was always on point and melded so well to make some of the most creative, cerebral songs ever put to record.
In the end, I guess we’ll always have MF Doom’s music. There will never be another rapper like MF Doom, and we were lucky to have him while we did.