Madvillainy is the debut album by American Alternative Hip Hop duo Madvillain (MF DOOM as MC and Madlib as producer and occasional rapper), released on March 23, 2004 on Stones Throw Records. It continues DOOM's trademark interests in playing with themes of supervillainy in hip-hop while introducing the backdrop of Madlib's eclectic, sample-heavy beats, both of which combine to create an overarching aesthetic that runs throughout the album, centered by the dastardly misadventures of the "Madvillain" character.
While not the most commercially successful album (it peaked at number 179 on the US Billboard 200, admittedly a fair effort for an indie rap release), Madvillainy was critically adored, even having praises sung by publications not usually receptive to hip-hop such as The New Yorker. Now, it is considered one of the greatest rap albums of its time and of all time, and DOOM's writing, Madlib's production, and the radio-unfriendly atmosphere of the album have all greatly influenced newer generations of musicians. It is currently ranked at No. 365 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
As it would then turn out, Madvillainy was unparalleled in more ways than one, as DOOM and Madlib never released an official sequel in the years since it was released. While both went on record with differing rationalesnote , the closest they got was a remix album Madlib put out in 2008, supposedly because he couldn't wait any longer for DOOM to record new verses. While it was called Madvillainy 2, the album eschewed the original's narrative aesthetic for completely new production, and although its reception was positive, it was nowhere near as enthusiastic or unanimous as that of the original. While hopes faltered indefinitely, the announcement of DOOM's death on October 31st, 2020 seemingly drove the final nail in the Madvillainy sequel's coffin...
...that was, until January 2021, when Stones Throw founder and CEO Peanut Butter Wolf revealed that DOOM had almost finished recording a true Madvillainy sequel prior to his death (by "almost", we mean "85% done" according to PBW), and Stones Throw got the greenlight to release it posthumously, but is not sure when or how it will be released.
- "The Illest Villains" (1:55)
- "Accordion" (1:59)
- "Meat Grinder" (2:12)
- "Bistro" (1:08)
- "Raid" (ft. MED aka Medaphoar) (2:31)
- "America's Most Blunted" (ft. Lord Quas) (3:54)
- "Sickfit" (1:22)
- "Rainbows" (2:52)
- "Curls" (1:36)
- "Do Not Fire!" (0:53)
- "Money Folder (3:03)
- "Shadows of Tomorrow" (Performed by Madlib ft. Lord Quas) (2:36)
- "Operation Lifesaver aka Mint Test" (1:30)
- "Figaro" (2:26)
- "Hardcore Hustle" (ft. Wildchild) (1:22)
- "Strange Ways" (1:52)
- "Fancy Clown" (1:56)
- "Eye" (ft. Stacy Epps) (1:58)
- "Supervillain Theme" (0:53)
- "All Caps" (2:10)
- "Great Day" (2:17)
- "Rhinestone Cowboy" (4:02)
Tropes; more accurately, the dark side of our beings:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: "Hardcore Hustle".
- Album Intro Track: "The Illest Villains", an introduction to Madvillain.
- Anti-Villain:"The villainous pair of really nice boys who just happened to be on the wrong side of the law."
- As the Good Book Says...: "Money Folder" begins with DOOM quoting John 8:7."Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"
After you who's last, it's DOOM, he's the worst known
- Badass Boast: "The Illest Villains":"Similar sequences could not be defeated. Villains who possess supernatural abilities - villains who were the personification of carnage."
- Done deliberately in "Curls", where the line "trying to get the ass" replaces the last word with a sound effect.
- "Fancy Clown" also noticeably censors DOOM's uses of the word "fuck".
- The Cameo: Daedalus, whose track "Experience" provides the core sample for "Accordion", appears in the song's music video — playing an accordion, fittingly enough.
- Caps Lock: In "All Caps" (referring to DOOM):Just remember: ALL CAPS when you spell the man name.
- Comics Rule Everything Around Me: DOOM, one of the masters of this trope, embodying the role of a supervillain + Madlib sampling several old comic shows = this trope going without saying.
- Corpsing: See Last Note Hilarity below.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The album cover, save for the orange square in the top right corner. This also applies to the music video for "Accordion".
- Determinator: The ending of "Strange Ways", which samples Tex Avery's Symphony in Slang.(...) I left. Outside it was raining cats and dogs. I was feelin' mighty blue... and everything looked black...but I carried on!
- Drugs Are Good: "America's Most Blunted" glorifies marijuana.
- Epic Rocking: In an album mostly composed of 2-minute songs, "America's Most Blunted" and "Rhinestone Cowboy" are 4 minutes long.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: On "All Caps", DOOM warns, "Don't talk about my moms, yo."
- Everybody Laughs Ending: A rare non-visual example; see Last Note Hilarity below.
- Face on the Cover: DOOM on the front, Madlib on the back (and the instrumentals collection).
- Fading into the Next Song:
- "Bistro" —> "Raid" —> "America's Most Blunted" —> "Sickfit".
- A strange example: "Accordion" ends with a snippet of the next song, "Meat Grinder", which is cut off by a Record Needle Scratch, which is when that song starts proper.
- "Supervillain Theme" —> "All Caps".
- 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.
- Freudian Slip: Name-dropped in "Accordion":Slip like Freudian
- A Glitch in the Matrix: Referenced in "Great Day": "And I wish they fixed the door to the Matrix, there's mad glitches."
- Grand Finale: Enforced; "Rhinestone Cowboy" was consciously made as this (with less than a week before the album was due), since the album's chief A&R wanted it to have a proper ending. As a result, its recurring usage of the sound of applause and the subject matter of DOOM's verses makes the song feel like a conclusive victory lap for the album.
- Gratuitous Panning:
- Sounds in "The Illest Villains" pan through the left and right channels.
- "Bistro" pans static, telephone sounds, and voices saying "How do you do?" heavily around halfway through the song.
- Invoked in "Money Folder", where a line about DOOM bringing his mic everywhere to perform live and on stereo is panned to the left side. The next line then lampshades this by saying "Pan it".
- Also exhibited near the start of "All Caps", and later in the track when a right-panned DOOM says "your mother".
- Helium Speech: The trademark sound of Madlib's alter ego Quasimoto, who appears on "Shadows of Tomorrow".
- I Have Many Names: DOOM's alter ego Viktor Vaughn is in "Fancy Clown", and Madlib's alter ego Quasimoto is in "Shadows of Tomorrow".
- The opening sample of "Money Folder" lampshades this by saying "The villain took on many forms."
- Instrumental: "Sickfit", "Do Not Fire!", "Supervillain Theme". An instrumental-only version of Madvillainy was also released around the same time as the main album.
- Last Note Hilarity: The xylophone in the closing sample of "America's Most Blunted" hits the wrong note at the end, causing the guys in the studio to break down into laughter.
- Meaningful Name: Madvillain stems from Madlib for the first half of the name, and from MF DOOM (who's based around super villains) for the second half. Madvillainy is an insight into the duo.
- Miniscule Rocking: "Do Not Fire!" and "Supervillain Theme".
- My Nayme Is:"Just remember ALL CAPS when you spell the man name."
- Non-Appearing Title: Besides the instrumentals, there's "Raid" and "Fancy Clown".
- One-Word Title: Madvillainy, "Accordion", "Bistro", "Raid", "Sickfit", "Rainbows", "Curls", "Figaro", "Eye".
- Rouge Angles of Satin: Invoked in the sample at the end of "America's Most Blunted", with "marijuana" being spelt as "marijuajuana". The guy spelling it is high as a kite.
- Sampling: Click here to get a complete list of songs sampled on this album. It's pretty long.
- The album's main aesthetic is built around samples of mid 20th-century media, especially narrations of supervillains.
- Self-Deprecation: "Fancy Clown" may be hip-hop's first and only schizophrenic self-diss track, made to DOOM from DOOM's alter ego Viktor Vaughn.
- Self-Titled Album: Off by a letter, but makes sense considering that it's meant to show who Madvillain are and what they do.
- Singer Name Drop: "The Illest Villains", as seen in the page quote.
- Spell My Name with an "S": "Accordion" is sometimes misspelled as "Accordian".
- The point of "All Caps" is that MF DOOM wants the rap's listeners to spell his name entirely in capital letters.
- Step Up to the Microphone: "Shadows of Tomorrow" is rapped by Madlib, both as himself and as his pitched-up alter ego Quasimoto.
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: In "Great Day", DOOM subverts a rhyme at the end of a rhyme scheme that seamlessly segues into the next rhyme scheme.Last wish: I wish I had two more wishes
And I wish they fixed the door to the Matrix, there's mad glitches
Spit so many verses sometimes my jaw twitches
One thing this party could use is more...note
Booze, put yourself in your own shoes
- Super Villain: Screwed around with in every way possible.
- You Need a Breath Mint: "Operation Lifesaver AKA Mint Test" is about DOOM meeting a really beautiful girl...with really bad breath.Wow, caught me off guard.
Went to breathe in, but then she made me cough..hard.
- Curses, we's truly the worsest
With enough rhymes to spread throughout the boundless universes
Let the beat blast, she told him wear the mask
He said "You bet your sweet ass"
It's made of fine chrome alloy
Find him on the grind, he's the rhinestone cowboy.