MF DOOM, hip-hop’s elusive supervillain, dead at 49
“So nasty that it’s probably somewhat of a travesty having me / then he told the people ‘You can call me, Your Majesty!'”
MF DOOM, your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper, has died at 49. Hip-hop’s self-proclaimed supervillain, born Daniel Dumile, died on October 31 of 2020. A revered enigma until the very end, the world first learned of the legendary rapper’s death two months later on December 31 in an announcement by his wife, Jasmine, with a cause of death not immediately disclosed. Impossibly elusive and simultaneously exalted, DOOM was hip-hop royalty, and news of his passing is a travesty that has shaken the greater industry to a sobering, mournful halt.
Dumile, unequivocally one of hip-hop’s most inspirational forces, influenced multiple generations of rhymers and beat makers, largely from the shadows of the underground. Hidden behind his iconic metal mask—an homage to Marvel’s infamous Doctor Doom—Dumile’s prolific output defined hip-hop’s subterrain throughout the late 90’s and early aughts.
Born in London in 1971, Dumile moved to Long Island, New York at a young age. He would he soon start performing as Zev Love X, alongside his younger brother DJ Subroc as part of the hip-hop outfit KMD. The group fell apart after Subroc was killed in a car accident in 1993 ahead of KMD’s sophomore album. After the death of his brother, Dumile essentially disappeared, not to reemerge until the late 1990’s behind what would become his signature mask.
From there, DOOM would go on to launch a teeming catalog of music and beat compilations across various monikers and alter-egos. His 2004 joint project with Madlib under the Madvillain pseudonym, Madvillainy, stands as a paragon of hip-hop’s most richly layered beatwork and lyricism. Mm..Food, an anagram for MF DOOM, features some of the most intricately knotted rhymes schemes and dexterous wordplays ever pressed to wax. DOOM was equipped with lyrical shrewdness and sharp-witted wit that, to this day, hopscotch leaps and bounds over rap’s top rhymers.
DOOM’s output would slow considerably after the first decade of the new millennium, though by 2010, Dumile had six full-length projects under his belt, including The Mouse and the Mask alongside Danger Mouse. More importantly, DOOM’s output was capped by a level of influence and esteem that is nearly impossible to overstate. And despite his aversion of the public spotlight, DOOM was omnipresent across hip-hop even beyond his dying day. Long live the King, and
“Just remember ALL CAPS when you spell the man name.”