Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

R.I.P. MF DOOM

Illustration for article titled R.I.P. MF DOOM
Photo: Peter Kramer (Getty Images)

Daniel Dumile, the musician and producer best known as the masked MC MF DOOM, is dead. According to an Instagram post signed by his wife, Jasmine, Dumile died on October 31. The post reads:

Begin all things by giving thanks to THE ALL!

To Dumile

The greatest husband, father, teacher, student, business partner, lover and friend I could ever ask for. Thank you for all the things you have shown, taught and given to me, our children and our family. Thank you for teaching me how to forgive beings and give another chance, not to be so quick to judge and write off. Thank you for showing how not to be afraid to love and be the best person I could ever be. My world will never be the same without you. Words will never express what you and Malachi mean to me, I love both and adore you always. May THE ALL continue to bless you, our family and the planet.

All my Love

Jasmine

Transitioned October 31,2020

No cause of death has been reported. Dumile was 49.

The London-born rapper began his long-gestating career in 1988 as a member of KMD, a hip-hop trio that he formed with his younger brother DJ Subroc and emcee Rodan (who would later be replaced by Onyx The Birthstone Kid). At the time, Dumile’s stage name was Zev Love X. The group was signed to Elektra Records and made its recording debut on group 3rd Bass’s song “The Gas Face.” Their first album, Mr. Hood, gained popularity thanks to heavy airplay on Yo! MTV Raps and BET’s Rap City. KMD hit an irreparable rough patch in 1993, when in the span of a week, DJ Subroc died in a vehicular accident and the remaining members were dropped from their record label. Dumile took a step back from the hip-hop scene from 1994 to 1997, taking time to recover from the hefty blows from an unforgiving industry. When KMD’s second album, Black Bastards—a previously stalled project—was later bootlegged, it garnered enough of an audience to culminate in a solid underground following. Dumile would reemerge with a brand-new identity, complete with a mask and stage name inspired by the Marvel Comics supervillain Doctor Doom.

In 1999, MF DOOM made his return to the hip-hop scene official with his debut studio album, Operation: Doomsday, which featured previously released singles “Dead Bent,” “Greenbacks,” and “The M.I.C.” In addition, it included collaborations with his artist collective Monsta Island Czars, for which he crafted a separate onstage personality, King Geedorah—an ode to the kaiju King Ghidorah. Ultimately, he would turn to a number of characters throughout his distinctive career, channeling his love of comic books into his intricate and beloved work.

After releasing albums under his other monikers (including Viktor Vaughn, inspired by Doctor Doom’s alias), Dumile released two highly influential albums under the DOOM name, Mm..Food and Madvillainy. The latter, released in 2004 with producer Madlib under the group name Madvillain, was considered a commercial success and pushed MF DOOM further into the mainstream’s consciousness. Although his final solo album was released in 2009, he spent the last few years engaging in a number of collaborations with the likes of Ghostface Killah, Beth Gibbons of Portishead, and Khujo Goodie of Goodie Mob. As recent as this month, BADBADNOTGOOD dropped the MF DOOM collab “The Chocolate Conquistadors” for the latest Grand Theft Auto update, Cayo Perico Heist.

As the tributes pour in for the fallen lyricist, the common thread that binds the wave of condolences is his immovable influence on not only the rappers of today, but also the hip-hop legends that pop culture has heralded for decades. Q-Tip rightfully referred to MF DOOM as “your favorite MC’s MC” in his tweeted tribute, a succinct recognition of the clever wordplay, introspective bars, and magnetic presence that incoming artists can only hope to emulate.

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