By Archie Weir
The year is 1991, and the rap trio ‘KMDʼ – consisting of brothers Zev Love X and DJ Subroc, and Onyx The Birthstone Kid – have released their first studio album ‘Mr. Hoodʼ, to critical acclaim. The album revolves around a fictional character, Mr. Hood – who was created from stories in old vinyls the trio found whilst crate-digging. Mr. Hood is a fairly light-hearted take on the world the boys grew up in, mocking the gruesome backdrop of Long Island, New York in the early 1990s. Despite the group’s rapid rise to fame, things would not continue as any of them had imagined, with only 2 years later in the spring of 1993, DJ Subroc was fatally hit by a car. This would prove a lethal blow for KMD, resulting in – with the help of some contractual disputes – the demise of KMD. Their album Black Bastards was in the works, but, for the time being, was to be abandoned.
Understandably the death of DJ Subroc had a profound effect on the young Zev Love X. The passing of his brother at only 19 years old was simply too much to handle and forced the young man into a recluse.
In the following years Zev Love X would perform around New York, using various monikers and always obscuring his face. Until 6 years on from the death of DJ Subroc, in 1999, a project – ‘Operation Doomdayʼ is released by Zev, now going by the name, MF D00M. The album immediately received critical acclaim, hailed by Pitchfork as an “instant cult classic” gaining a rating of 8.9/10. This first solo album would only be the beginning though, as 3 years later heʼd release the equally well received album ʼTake Me To Your Leaderʼ. This time under the name ‘King Geedorahʼ. The album was not only another display of lyricism far beyond his time, but also showed the world that D00M could produce too – something often left to the few great producers of that era. He had immediately stamped his name on the industry that tossed him aside as a young man, and reminded the music world that he was a heavyweight who wasnʼt to go unnoticed.
Less than one year after the release of ‘Take Me To Your Leaderʼ – MF D00M releases the collaborative album – ‘Madvillainyʼ – with the music titan, MadLib. The album would immediately become a timeless classic – an inexhaustibly magnificent display of one of the greatest producers and greatest rappers to ever do it, combining to become something they could never be alone – MadVillain. The duo would rock the very foundations of modern hip-hop, and lay the groundwork for sampling and rapping in a way never done before. Itʼs dark and yet satirical take on life, death, love and hip-hop is unmatched. In hip-hop itʼs often either the producer or the rapper occupying the spotlight, but with Madvilliany it feels like listening to a magnificent symbiosis of both art forms, performed to absolute perfection.
A flurry of releases for MF D00M was to come in the following years, with 6
collaborative albums to be released under a variety of monikers – ‘Danger Doomʼ (Dangermouse + MF D00M), ʼNehruvian Doomʼ (Bishop Nehru + MF D00M), and a variety of others. It wasnʼt just the collaborative albums that
would follow however, 4 more solo albums would come, most notably ‘Mm..Foodʼ. The title comes from an anagram of the artists name itself, and like the title, the album is a funnier take than most, flying in the face of any seriousness and shining a light on D00Mʼs sense of humour – previously only seen in his music prior to his brother’s death.
MF D00Mʼs impact on rap and hip-hop cannot be understated. You only have to go as far as popular musicians today to see the crater he left in the music industry when he died on 31st October 2020. The hip-hop legend and former
member of A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip – had this to say upon hearing about MF D00Mʼs death. “R.I.P. to another music giant. Your favourite MCʼs favourite MC”. His death sent shockwaves through not only the music industry but through all creative industries, as he was simply more than a rapper. A poet, a creative, a thinker and an unadulterated lyricist. May he inspire many generations to come, and never be forgotten by those gone.
All caps when you spell the man name. MF D00M.