MF DOOM (also known as DOOM, Viktor Vaughn, King Geedorah, etc.) was a British-American rapper and producer, and a particularly troperiffic one at that.
DOOM, born Daniel Dumile (July 13, 1971 - October 31, 2020), had some success as a rapper in the early '90s in his group KMD under the name Zev Love X. However, the tragic loss of his brother in a car accident, along with the shelving of KMD's album Black Bastards in 1994 for its controversial cover art, caused him to retreat from the hip-hop world and sink into a deep depression. He eventually became homeless on the streets of New York; in interviews, he described himself in this period as "recovering from his wounds" and swearing revenge "against the industry that so badly deformed him."
If this sounds like a Super Villain origin story, well, the similarity didn't escape him, either.
When he recovered and returned to the world of hip-hop, he adopted the identity of MF DOOM, an Expy of the Fantastic Four villain Doctor Doom. DOOM consistently wore a now-iconic mask after he returned to performing, modeled after Maximus Decimus Meridius' mask from Gladiator; it is nearly impossible to find pictures of him from after 1998 or so in which he shows his face.
DOOM's raps often play with the ideas of the Super Hero and Super Villain, or use those tropes to deconstruct hip-hop culture. His lyrics are marked by a vast knowledge of popular culture and commonly allude to Science Fiction, Fantasy, Western Animation, and Comic Book characters. In addition to the Fantastic Four mythos from which his identity was borrowed (and from where he got a lot of hilarious samples of people complaining about "Doom"), he was fond of Star Trek, commonly comparing himself to Worf. The potential for Narm in this is tempered by DOOM's lyrical skill and playfulness as well as support from a range of excellent producers. DOOM maintains a good degree of popularity in both underground and mainstream hip-hop circles.
Throughout the 2000s and 2010s, MF DOOM's name would find further circulation among newer schools of hip-hop through his collaborative projects with producers and other rappers, each with one or two releases to their name. While his work with producer Madlib under the name Madvillain is far and away the most popular of these projects, seeing as the single work they made (Madvillainy) is regularly deemed one of the greatest rap albums of all time, he'd also tag-team with names including Danger Mouse (DANGERDOOM), Jneiro Jarel (JJ DOOM), Bishop Nehru (NehruvianDOOM) and Czarface.
On December 31st, 2020, Dumile's wife announced on social media that he had died on October 31st, 2020 at the age of 49; this was later confirmed by his representative. His cause of death is currently unknown.
He was a major supporter and friend of Adult Swim, having worked on several music products with them (namely the aforementioned DANGERDOOM project). In honor of him, the block hosted a marathon of the OFWGKTA series Loiter Squad, a show he helped work on as he was friends with the collective, on New Year's Day 2021.
- As MF DOOM
- Operation: Doomsday (1999)
- Mm... Food (2004)
- Live From Planet X (Live Album, 2005)
- Born Like This (2009)note
- Unexpected Guests (Compilation, 2009)
- Gazzillion Ear EP (EP, 2010)
- As King Geedorah
- Take Me To Your Leader (2003)
- As Viktor Vaughn
- Vaudeville Villain (2003)
- Venomous Villian (2004)
- With Madlib as Madvillain
- Madvillainy (2004)
- Madvillainy 2 - The Madlib Remix (Remixes, 2008)
- With Danger Mouse as DANGERDOOM
- The Mouse And The Mask (2005)
- Occult Hymn (EP, 2006)
- With J Dilla and Ghostface Killah
- Sniperlite EP (EP, 2008)
- With Jneiro Jarel as JJ DOOM
- Key to the Kuffs (2012)
- With Bishop Nehru as NehruvianDOOM
- NehruvianDOOM (As Producer, 2014)
- With Czarface
- Czarface Meets Metal Face (2018)
- Man's Worst Enemy EP (EP, 2018)
- Super What? (2021, posthumous release)
MF DOOM made use of the tropes:
- Actually a Doombot: Was known to frequently use stand-ins for live performances as a deliberate artistic choice, though he occasionally went onstage himself after the stand-in was booed off.
- Alliterative Name: Daniel Dumile, also Viktor Vaughn
- Alternative Hip Hop: One of the Trope Codifiers of abstract hip-hop (particularly in a boom bap context) and certainly one of its most famous proponents.
- Cool Mask: It wasn't a 1/1 copy of von Doom's mask due to copyright reasons, but it was still badass.
- Doomy Dooms of Doom: MF DOOM.
- Early Installment Character-Design Difference: His first mask, as seen in the Dead Bent and ? music videos, was a rubber Darth Maul mask crudely modified and spray-painted to resemble a Doctor Doom mask. All subsequent masks would instead be based off of a metal prop mask from Gladiator.
- Frame Break: In the music video for All Caps (which takes the form of an animated comicbook), the main character escapes from confinement by jumping hard enough to break through the bottom of every panel all the way down to the bottom of the page.
- Have a Gay Old Time: The clips used in the intro to Batty Boyz.Sharpen up your spirit of adventure! The fabulous gay way!
- Homage: The MF DOOM persona to Dr. Doom. Viktor Vaughn is also a Dr. Doom allusion.
- Hypocrite: Viktor Vaughn in "Fancy Clown" angrily renounces his girlfriend for sleeping with another man (one of his other personas, incidentally) in the first verse, only to reveal three instances of adultery on his part in the second, up to and including the woman's mother.
- I Have Many Names: Not uncommon among rappers, but DOOM did it more than the average.
- Malevolent Masked Men: Lampshaded to hell and back. Specifically, in The Mouse and the Mask's "Basket Case", where DOOM feebly defends himself by saying "Just since some people wear a mask doesn't mean that they did something."
- Mundane Made Awesome: The video for "Dead Bent" has DOOM going fruit shopping and trying to leave his apartment twice, but is awesome thanks to the song.
- My Nayme Is: "And remember, ALL CAPS when you spell the man's name."
- Nerd Glasses: He would frequently wear them during his KMD days and occasionally wore them over his mask as MF DOOM.
- Posthumous Collaboration: On October 8th, 2021, almost a year after his death, Rhymesayers Entertainment put out "Barcade", with him alongside Aesop Rock and Atmosphere.
- Real Life Writes the Album: Keys to the Kuff came about partially because DOOM was stuck in London and unable to return to the US due to visa issues while on tour in Europe.
- Refrain from Assuming: "Hoe Cakes" from MM..FOOD is not titled "Super" or "Supa".
- Running Gag: "He holds the mic like x" shows up in many of the songs.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Dude dropped some big, big words here and there.
- From "Guv'nor"Catch a throatful from the fire vocaled
Ash and molten glass like Eyjafjallajökull
The volcano outta Iceland
- From "All Outta Ale"One for the money, two for the better green
Three four methylenedioxymethamphetamine
- From "Guv'nor"
- Shout-Out: Frequent in his songs.
- Start of Darkness: Several tracks on Operation: DOOMSDAY expound on DOOM's backstory using sound clips from The Fantastic Four (1967).
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: He had a habit of acting like he was about to say something vulgar only to trail off and begin the next line with something that rhymes with the obscenity you were expecting. A couple of examples:
- From "Batty Boyz"Wrote this lyric from in the bed with a chickShe had the tightest grip around the head of my...Bic, now I can't get my pen back
- From "Space Ho's"That destructo ray's a played out gagAnd the cape and the pantsuit looking like a straight out...Dag! Don't mean to sound crunchy
- Not quite the same thing, but from "Great Day"Last wish, I wish I had two more wishesAnd I wish they fixed the door to the Matrix, there's mad glitchesSpit so many verses sometimes my jaw twitchesOne thing this party could use is more...Booze, put yourself in your own shoes
- From "Batty Boyz"
- Super Villain: Screwed around with in every way possible.
- Theme Naming: The titles of all the songs on his Mm...Food? album have some reference to food in them. The instrumental series Special Herbs & Spices took this further, with every beat being named after actual herbs and spices.