Written By Miranda
The face of underground hiphop since the 2000s was a man in a mask. Daniel Dumile, more commonly known as MF DOOM, had an immeasurable impact on hiphop and the entire industry. Dumile was born in London to Trinidadian and Zimbabwean parents and grew up in New York. Dumile’s first foray into the world of music began with the pseudonym Zev Love X, and his formation of the hiphop group KMD with his younger brother, among other artists in 1988. They were signed to Elektra Records, but just prior to the release of their second album, Dumile’s younger brother was tragically killed in a car accident. This incident sparked Dumile’s hiatus from music and also his relocation from New York to Atlanta. In the late 90s, Dumile returned to the music scene, producing and releasing three singles and then his first LP as MF DOOM: “Operation: Doomsday.” Four years later, he produced and released “Take Me To Your Leader” under the pseudonym King Geedorah, and a year later released “Venomous Villian” under the pseudonym Viktor Vaughn. Also in 2004, Dumile collaborated with the producer Madlib under the name Madvillian, and created the extremely notorious “Madvillainy.” This album came to be known as a masterpiece and likely the magnum opus of Dumile’s music career. Dumile continued to produce and release great albums throughout the 2000s, including working in the group Danger Doom and the album “Born Like This.”
Despite MF DOOM’s general rise to notoriety, he remained a mysterious figure within the music business. Part of his enigmatic nature comes from the fact that Dumile used the MF DOOM pseudonym as a character, or alter ego. MF DOOM’s character constantly wore a mask, and thus Dumile never performed or was photographed without it on. In an interview, Dumile explains that he began wearing a mask to shed focus more toward his sound and talent, rather than. He dons the mask in order to rebel against, and it fits in with his character as the Villian. “Villian represents anybody…anybody could wear the mask.” Dumile continuously kept up his act as MF DOOM, sometimes even sending impostors to perform at his shows. Sadly, MF DOOM passed away on October 31, 2020. The public was informed about Dumile’s passing through social media two months later. The news of his death spread throughout social media with multiple artists and celebrities paying tribute to him and offering well wishes to his family. This great artist who shaped modern hiphop and modern music will be remembered as long as time.