The underground rap phenomenon known as MF Doom has at least six heads. He’s an emcee, a producer, a superhero, a philanthropist, an alien lizard, and a family man. After gaining experience with old-school hip-hop crews KMD (as Zev Love X, with his late brother, Subroc) and 3rd Bass, MF Doom (born Daniel Dumile) earned his solo fan base with 1999’s Operation: Doomsday. Now, under the guise of the three-headed alien King Geedorah, Doom has released Take Me to Your Leader.
King Geedorah has a gravelly rhyme flow akin to Nas’s and a sci-fiimagination often compared to Kool Keith’s. The superhero theme hasbeen explored before (Ghostface Killah adopted the aliases of Ironmanand his secret identity Tony Starks), and the Godzilla influences ofGeedorah are not that new, either. But Doom’s bizarre assortment ofinterests has taken on a life of its own. Take Me to Your Leaderis fractured and colorful and ultimately falls through your hands rightbefore you can piece it together.
The album is not unlike Doom’s style of conversation: Every once in a while, a nugget of wisdom emerges from his collage of sideways theories and cracked-out explanations.
You’ve said Take Me To Your Leader is King Geedorah’s alien perspective on humans. What exactly is that perspective?
It’s really a perspective that’s like, other than human. It would be a perspective that’s [as if] you never came to this planet, like if thisplanet was totally new. And as an alien, he sees all the differenttypes of animals and all the different types of humans. But itgoes a little further than that. As he looks closer, it’s like, Okay,humans are supposed to be ruling the planet or whatever, the mostintelligent beings here. But then we’re destroying it at the same time.It’s like we’re shooting ourselves in the foot by thinking we’re too goodfor everything.
Is Earth considered wack in other galaxies?
Not necessarily wack, it’s just at a stage of development that . . . youknow, it’s like a baby: It’s just beginning to crawl. So aliens look at it like, Okay, we were at that stage of development at one time. Other galaxies is not really allowed to interfere, and other beings are not really allowed to interfere with what we’re doin’ in our development at this stage. But Geedorah’s going against all that. He’s like, "Aight, lemme give them a little bit of guidance, lemme just tap ’em in the right direction."
So we have hope; we have a future?
Yeah. It’s up to us, though, really.
I’m wondering about the three heads of King Geedorah. Do they all have the same voice?
Each head has its own personality. They’re all represented on the Geedorahrecord. Each point of view, you know? Each head has its own personality. One might be a little more snotty, one a little more caring, and the other one’s just a little more in between, let’s-just-get-the-job-done type shit.
Are there any mammals that can breathe in outer space?
No, not breathe in the sense that we know breathing — like air and shit. It’smore like, certain beings that travel through space utilize the radioactivity that’s in space. So they do somethin’ similar to breathing. It would be like osmosis through the outer shell. They can transmute the radioactivity in space and change that into energy that they use in their body.
What’s the most painful way to die?
Most painful way to die?
And this question’s directed to Geedorah?
Well, what Geedorah says about that, it’s more like, once you die, ain’t no pain,’cause you already crossed the line. Any way of dying is really not too painful. I guess on the way out, you’re still attached to the living side. So a painful way would be — I don’t know. Shit. [Laughs.] There’s so many different ways! Six million. So what? The top million, or what?
I always hear people argue whether they’d rather drown to death or burn to death. That’s a tough call.
Kind of a morbid question for a music magazine. [Laughs.]
I think this type of album that you’ve made deserves a different type of interview.
Yeah, I appreciate it, too. I’m tired of the same old corny stuff.
I bet. I’m tired of reading the same old corny stuff.
Yeah, the same old answers. Believe me, I know it can get repetitive. So, the most painful way to die. I’m gonna say buried alive.
Everybody knows you’re there. You’re just there. I mean, runnin’ outta air slowly. Just the anticipation — you know you about to run out of air.
Yeah. That shit all get to you, psychologically, as well as physically, you know?
I like the album design for Take Me to Your Leader because it’s simple. It’s not some spaced-out digital mess like a lot of rap crews put out. What concept did you have when you came to what the album was gonna look like?
I really wanted to capture this whole war climate and at the same time have Geedorah there. Like, what would they do if Geedorah really stood on Earth?These conventional weapons would be nothin’. He’d eat a nuclear bomblike it was a snack. It’s symbolic in the way that it’s like, Geedorah’s here, really. It’s the thoughts, and it’s really the ideas that he’s bringin’ to us. That’s just the most powerful presence. With the information that he’s bringin’, this is a way that we could stop all that war, but it’s up to us what we do with the information.
I heard even your old lady and your seeds call you Doom. Is that true?
Yeah, yeah. No question.
So that’s your name from back in the day.
And it was just a coincidence that it led into your interest in the character Dr.Doom?
It was weird, yo. It was one of them weird things. It’s like, you know, wewere into comics just like any other kid of that generation. I guess Atari 2600 must’ve just came out, but it wasn’t no big video-game thing like how it is now. And we ain’t have cable so comic books was our shit, that’s like our form of entertainment. So you know, all the different characters, from X-Men, to Spider Man and all these different cats, right? And of course, Fantastic Four with Dr.Doom. It just so happens that, you know, Dr.Doom! I come to that character. I guess from him having the same name, you know the Doom name, it kinda made me look into him more. There’s a lot of things that were similar. As my career went on, I look back at it, I’m like, yo. If anything, I can’t just pack this up; I gotta freak it like that. Just to give back to that whole era anyway. It influenced my writing a lot. There’s no real boundaries. You can go as diverse and as wild as you wanna go with it.
So, the concept of King Geedorah seems to be an optimistic look at where humanity might go. I see a decline in culture. I see a decline in art. Rap, of course. Do you feel differently?
Actually, I have to agree with you. In my perspective, in my history onthis planet — thirty-some-odd years — and just seein’ how it’s beengoing, it seems like it’s declining. If I had to predict the next tenyears, it’s bleak. Geedorah’s been to perspectives that I never even thought of and has ideas about other places that I never even knew. So, I’m like, it puts a new spin on things. It almost brings hope back. . . . A lot of leaders on this planet — so-called leaders — definitely ain’t factoring in. They don’t know [Earth’s] real potential. There’s a lot of metaphysical things, and technological aspects as well, that cross-correlate. That the so-called leaders of this planet don’t even know about. They ain’t even up on it. So, I look at it like, Aight,with these new pieces in it, we got some type of chance. It’s all up to the children. It depends on what we put in their heads. Really.
What do you think is the best album of all time?
Not including my stuff? ‘Cause if my stuff was in there, I’ma pick oneof my shits! But if I wanna be fair about it. . .
If you had to only listen to one album for the rest of your life, would you really pick one of yours?
Nah, you right. [Laughs.] Once I’m done with it, I’m done with it, yo, I’m tellin’ you. All right, if I had to listen to one album. Out of any genre of music?
Yeah, just your favorite shit.
John Coltrane. The joint with — well, I got a best-of album fromhim. It got "Afro Blue" on there, and it has "My Favorite Things."Yeah, those two songs — two good, long versions of those songs –that’s the shit I could listen to anytime. Cleanin’ the house, cleanin’the bathroom, throw that on. No matter what’s going on, that’s mytimeless piece right there.