I’m going to get a lot of shit about this, but Madvillainy has ruined every other MF Doom record for me. Depending on what kind of hip-hop fan you are — and I won’t make any judgments on which is which — you find certain Doom records more satisfying than others. Some people like Operation: Doomsday, most people like Viktor Vaughn’s debut, a few people like King Gheedorah, and most people aren’t into Doom’s unusual references and specific tone and focus on any record. I’ve been a Doom fan since his days as Zev Love X alongside 3rd Bass and alongside his late brother DJ Subroc in KMD, and I’ve loved most of his major releases since then. But ever since March of 2004, even when I’m listening to records I know and love, all I can think is that I could be listening to Madvillain.
MM..Food doesn’t change my mind, but it doesn’t disappoint either. After the baffling Viktor Vaughn follow-up, which barely included Doom at all, fans at least get the emcee for a good EP’s worth of material. Anagrams notwithstanding (Doom’s next project should be an easy-listening radio station called Mood FM), the record reaches clever heights on numerous occasions. Aside from the food references and the lush production on tracks like “Hoe Cakes,” the skits aren’t shy about making themselves known.
But therein lies the problem. Something about MM..Food seems easy, like the record was thrown together on a lazy Saturday. Starting at the end of the semi-annoying “Deep Fried Frenz,” a stretch of Doom-less music runs eight minutes and then into “Kon Karne,” a previously released track. The instrumental tracks are very entertaining, particularly the “edible wrappers” sample that is a real find for someone like Doom. But his reputation precedes him, and no one will accept tracks that anyone knows he can toss off in his sleep.
Some people who were turned off by the undeniable oddness of the Madvillain record will find more to like here, and it’s hard to blame them. Some of the beats see Doom at the top of his game, and when Doom spits lines like “It’s a miracle how he gets so lyrical/ and proceeds to move the crowd like an old Negro spiritual,” it’s hard not to think he put some effort into the record. But, ultimately, MM..Food won’t hold up to his superior work. And when his superior work only came out six months before this, that’s hard to ignore.
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MF Doom interview
MF Doom show review
Viktor Vaughn review
“Hoe Cakes” (MP3) (Real)
“Potholderz” (MP3) (Real)
MF Doom website
Video of MF Doom and De La Soul performing Rock Co. Kane Flow at Carson Daily