Christopher R. Weingarten

By Christopher R. Weingarten

on 04.15.11 in Reviews
A revered New York rapper returns with a cult classic — and a metal face.

A certified cult classic (and one of the best subway-listening records ever), MF DOOM's Operation Doomsday is the essential release in the rapidly expanding catalog of one of underground hip-hop's most uncompromising originals. Zev Love X, of darkly humorous '90s NYC crew KMD, practically disappeared for five years (due to the death of his brother/bandmate and Elektra shelving the last KMD album) and emerged in 1999 as the mysterious, mask-clad MF DOOM, swearing "revenge against the industry that so badly deformed him." On his first release as MF DOOM, he drops giddy couplets like a hip-hop Ogden Nash ("classical slapstick/rappers need ChapStick") and culls hissy, tinny beats from chunks of Scooby-Doo and the Beatles. DOOM's choppy lo-fi drum stabs, effortless aplomb for labyrinthine rhyme schemes and affinity for peculiar aliases (like three-headed rapping lizard King Geedorah) have since made him a beloved weirdo icon, but Doomsday is where the metal got particularly heavy.