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The Diabolical Mind of MF DOOM: Riffing on ‘Figaro’
04.24.2013
12:15 pm

Topics:
Hip-hop
Music

Tags:
MF DOOM


 
I’m unsure if MF DOOM is still stranded in London (he was apparently refused re-entry to the US last year, on account of visa troubles), but I’d like to think that he is. It’s good for the old town to have the world’s finest living rhymester in residence. And though last year’s Keys to the Kuffs may have been a relatively shoddy offering, DOOM sounded a million miles happier than the cranky recluse that penned (the admittedly vastly superior) Born Like This.  

Conceivably, DOOM’s physical proximity may also be helping some of his London listeners unriddle his writing, as if he were some Buddha emitting great waves of lucidity wherever he lowers his ample posterior. Personally, I find myself on such a critical roll that I’ve even been turning my attention to some of his more aggressively enigmatic couplets, and with some degree of satisfaction and even (arguably) success.

Take, for example, the following little monster from Madvillainy’s renowned “Figaro”:

“Everything that glitter ain’t fishscale/

Lemme think, don’t let her faint get Ishmael”

A lovely sounding line, to be sure, and one that initially impresses with its near-perfect symmetry – the first line is nine syllables, the second is ten, but we remove the eighth syllable of the latter (get) we are left with a sublimely pat example of syllable-for-syllable rhyming.

It was this parallelism, in fact, that led me to consider the first three syllables of the second line – Lemme think – as a kind of joke. As many emcees stress, all rhyme writing is improvised to a degree, it’s just that it’s done pen-in-hand rather than mic, and in an altogether more leisurely fashion.

Lemme think, then, seems to be an open rumination on the part of the emcee as to how he might rhyme the next six or seven syllables… only it’s disingenuous, a feint (as opposed to a faint), since Lem-me-think covertly corresponds with Eve-ry-thing. Dig? The faux-spontaneity belies design.                

And in this instance, that Lemme think aspires to be doubly misleading, since it not only obscures rhyme, it also obscures sense…

Let’s go back to the first line. As any good hip hop fan knows, “fishscale” denotes pure uncut cocaine. But while DOOM’s substitution of it for Shakespeare’s “gold” artistically evokes the glisten of fish skin, we are seemingly left with little more than an updated cliché bobbing meaninglessly on the surface of the verse.

The second line, however, seems to describe a precise occurrence – don’t let her faint. Could there be a connection, here, with that cocaine of questionable purity? It may very well not be proverbial, after all. Seduced by the allure of intoxication, a woman hoovers up a line and abruptly discovers herself in dire straits, a la Mia Wallace. Lemme think, then, becomes a rumination as to what to do about it – in this case, get Ishmael

Who, though, is Ishmael? Well, there are two that come to mind. There’s Ishmael of Moby Dick (an allusion arguably validated through its rhyme with “fishscale”), then there’s Ishmael from The Bible, Abraham’s son. Both are united through a native element – water: the latter Ishmael thoughtfully preserved from death by the angel Gabriel, who tapped the Zamzam well to slake his thirst.

Mia Wallace, of course, required an injection – or a shot – to return to the land of the living. An average glass of water could easily seem inadequate to the task. Holy water, though (as one would expect Gabriel to provide), would be a different matter.

And what kind of liquid might the famously tipsy DOOM deem “holy” – a whole different kind of shot….

“A shot of Jack, got her back…”

The tasty Mad Lib remix of “Figaro”:
 

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment
Would the real MF Doom please turn up?
08.28.2012
07:18 am

Topics:
Hip-hop
Music

Tags:
Performance
MF DOOM
Shitty
Imposter
Hip-hop


Is this MF Doom?
 
MF Doom is one of the most respected rappers and producers in hip-hop. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for “his” live “appearances.” I say “his” because quite often MF Doom, aka Daniel Dumile, doesn’t even appear at his own shows.

As has been reported a number of times over the last few years, Doom has a history of sending imposters to perform at his live events, all hidden behind his trademark metal mask. After various reports of this happening in the past, including this from The Kaos Effect, the latest non-sighting of MF Doom comes from Livin’ Proof in London. A statement on the collective’s Facebook wall reads:

To everyone who came down to our Livin’ DOOM event on Saturday and are questioning whether that was the real DOOM - we are in the same position as you. We had a legitimate contracted gig from his official booking agent and were in contact throughout the booking process with his US management, and label. We were even talking and working with the promoters of DOOM’s forthcoming London live shows in October and November.

As far as we were concerned, the real DOOM was going to appear… we received news from DOOM’s management on the morning of the gig that DOOM wanted more money or he would not show up. This show was done and intended as a very special and intimate show which was not about making money but putting on an incredible party in a very small capacity venue. As we wanted the show to go ahead and was left to ransom to this extortionate request, we agreed this even though this was a breach of our agreed contract. In hindsight, we should have cancelled the show then and there…

At 9.30pm after we had open the doors, we were told by management that he would appear but would not DJ and was just going to sign autographs. We said this was unacceptable as we had agreed and paid for a DJ set… 10 minutes later we received a call saying that he would DJ… Or that’s what we were led to believe.

As many of the people in the venue noticed, there is a very strong possibility the person that was finally sent down was not DOOM himself.

Doing this show has taught us a lot about how some artists operate and how they feel they can treat others and, most importantly, their fans. As fans of DOOM ourselves, this has left a very sour taste in our mouth.

Anyone who has been to Livin’ Proof parties always know that we do our utmost to provide the best quality show and we are so sorry for anyone who came down and were disappointed by the DJ set from the artist supposedly meant to be DOOM.

We will do our utmost to make this up to anyone who purchased a ticket for this event. We paid the fee upfront to Daniel Dumile’s bank account and have the receipts to prove this. We will be seeking legal advice and are doing our best to get his show fee refunded from DOOM and his management and will then take suitable steps after this action.

All the best,

Livin’ Proof Crew.

There is some doubt in the thread that accompanies the statement as to whether the person in the picture above is MF Doom or not. Anybody reading this have any ideas?

Some people are now suggesting fans boycott MF Doom shows, and even stop buying his records. There’s also a lot of talk about this all being part of MF Doom’s notorious “super-villainry.” Bullshit. Super-laziness and disrespect for fans is what this is.

MF Doom needs to take a leaf out of GG Allin’s book, who was a REAL super-villain. Sure, you may have got pissed on or kicked in the face at an Allin show, but at least you could be guaranteed the guy defecating on your head was THE REAL GG Allin.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
DOOM speaks!
05.03.2012
05:40 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
MF DOOM


MF Doom illustration by Veenom

God knows what a “Red Bull Music Academy” is supposed to be, but there is, or was, one in Madrid, apparently, and for some reason that usually reticent wordsmith DOOM (née MF DOOM), swung by it last year to submit to an unprecedented over-an-hour-and-a-half filmed interview – probably just in return for a complimentary crate or two of that weird energy drink.
 
Now this doesn’t make for much of a visual spectacle, particularly when the interviewer spins a DOOM tune, and so subjects the viewer to a lot of half-hearted head-nodding from the attendant academy ‘undergraduates’ while DOOM peers mournfully off into the middle distance (thinking of all that Red Bull, no doubt). It makes for great audio though, and not just because of the wonderful music; here, in his butter-moist tones, our finest living lyricist (give or take) all but opens up, discussing, among other things, KMD, the making of Operation Doomsday and Madvillainy, rhyme style, writer’s block, and synaesthesia (unsurprisingly, for DOOM, “sounds have colors”).
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment