2020 was a piece of shit mostly spent doomsrolling and there’s a sick irony that I couldn’t tear myself away from obituaries for MF DOOM on New Years Eve.
I tweeted about it, in the spur of the moment, initially remembering the disappointment felt at a gig where Madlib was playing and interrupted his set with the words “DOOM ain’t coming”, and then said nothing more. A lot of people left — a striking image when you’ve already got someone of Madlib’s stature on stage.
There’s lots to be said and that has been said about KMD and Mm..Food and Madvillainy and everything he touched, frankly, but 2009’s Born Like This was huge for me. It didn’t hit immediately. In fact, it wasn’t until my first year of uni that it clicked. But it really clicked.
The tweet below from Elena Bergeron made me think of that slow process of getting on DOOM’s rhythm a decade ago:
MF DOOM’s mere presence made everything — rap, writing, the world — feel more expansive, more possible. RIP
That’s how Born Like This felt — expansive. The cover was perfect. It felt exactly like a Rosetta Stone for some future music, or like DOOM’s Golden Record beamed down from his underground lair on Mars.
Hip hop has always loved its superheroes and supervillains but DOOM was the one who really felt otherworldly in his abilities. He was the real deal. Magic on the mic.