MF Doom, Elusive Bard of Hip-Hop, Dead at 49
The 49-year-old rapper known for his cryptic persona and impossible rhyme schemes has passed away. Jasmine, the rapper’s wife, made the initial Instagram post announcing his passing. MF DOOM’s representative Richie Abbott said that his client had passed away. There was no immediate word on what caused the death. Abbott confirmed that the rapper’s real name was Daniel Dumile.
MF Doom Cause of Death
“The greatest husband, father, teacher, student, business partner, lover, and friend I could ever ask for,” Dumile’s wife, Jasmine, wrote. “Thank you for everything you have shown, taught, and given to me, our children, and our family. Thank you for teaching me how to forgive beings and give them another chance, not to be so quick to judge and write them off.”
“All u ever needed in hip-hop was this record,” Flying Lotus tweeted alongside the album cover to Madvillainy, Dumile’s 2004 album with Madlib. “My soul is crushed.”
“RIP to another Giant, your favorite MC’s MC .. MF DOOM!! crushing news…,” Q-Tip tweeted, while El-P wrote, “He was a writer’s writer. Grateful I got to know you a little, king. Proud to be your fan. Thank you for keeping it weird and raw always. You inspired us all and always will.”
When Dumile was young, he and his family relocated from London to Long Island, New York. At the age of fifteen, he and his younger brother DJ Subroc formed the hip-hop group KMD, under which name he first performed under the stage name Zev Love X. After releasing their critically acclaimed debut, Mr. Hood, in 1991, the group was in the studio recording their follow-up, Black Bastards, in 1993, when Subroc was killed in a car accident.
Dumile withdrew from public view after his brother’s death, but he made a surprise appearance in the late 1990s at New York City’s Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe, where he performed with a stocking over his face. This preoccupation with secrecy would become Dumile’s trademark as he adopted several deceptive techniques, most notably donning a mask inspired by the Marvel villain Doctor Doom.
His debut as MF DOOM, Operation: Doomsday (1999), paved the way for a flurry of subsequent releases under various pseudonyms (along with numerous other tracks and beat compilations) and a legacy of collaborations and inspirations. DOOM was light years ahead of the curve when it came to music. Regardless of the quality of the artwork, KMD were dropped from their label because of the controversy surrounding the cover of their album Black Bastards, which depicted a reimagining of the Sambo trope of a person being lynched.
In 2004, Dumile teamed up with the equally mysterious producer Madlib, a move that would cement Dumile’s reputation as an extraterrestrial prophet. For their debut album, they went by the name Madvillain, and it’s still a shining example of the versatility and longevity of rap music today. In the same year, Mm..Food introduced the general public to DOOM’s flair for narrative. DOOM’s almost delirious ability to create endless and playful metaphors about niche interests like snacks and food was displayed throughout the record.
In the years that followed Madvillainy, he released The Mouse and the Mask with Danger Mouse, Born Like This, and multiple volumes of his prolific instrumental beat series Special Herbs. There were six full-length albums by MF DOOM and his various aliases by 2009.
Halloween has officially been declared “DOOMSDAY” by the MF DOOM estate.
Read about the benefit taking place on the one year anniversary of the rapper’s death here: https://t.co/76PkK1JUAW pic.twitter.com/Bx2jKCdRS3
— Okayplayer (@okayplayer) October 29, 2021
It is difficult to overstate MF DOOM’s influence on music, which extends far beyond his official releases. As a producer, he was quick and nimble and used pop culture items in new ways to make dark autopsies of the human condition. He was unyielding as a lyricist, standing for introspection that looked inward and upward from a lofty vantage point. He dug into the American imagination’s Black stereotypes to discover the truth. His influence can be seen in the droning treatises of today’s young rappers, who use them as a blueprint for their own brand of Black liberation, from the brash ethos of groups like Odd Future to the boisterous rockstar energy of Playboi Carti.
He suffered another major loss in 2017 when he revealed that his son Malachi had died.
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