Mf Doom - Born Like This
No introduction needed for the old school back-packers and Hiphop purists who are already well acquainted with MF Doom. (But for the rest of you, I'll give it a whirl.) Doom has been around since the early nineties, and has recorded under several stage names. These days, he has dropped the "MF" and just goes by Doom. He has recorded both numerous solo and collaborative projects.
As far as his style: if you've ever heard of the term "dirty" when people are talking about the sound of a specific Hiphop record (that isn't from the dirty south, that is), it's referring to the grittiness of the track; you can hear the cracks and pops from the vinyl the sample was lifted from; there's something beautifully sloppy about it. It's as if the artist is more concerned about capturing an overall vibe rather than aesthetic perfection--and as a result, makes music that is far removed from the over-produced Hiphop on the radio today (not to sound like an old school back-packer myself). Doom is one of the best in the business at relentlessly capturing the essence of Hiphop's Golden Era (circa 1988-1994). Born Like This is yet another gem in Doom's impressive catalog, stripped down to its raw material like the rest of his work.
Normally, I don't like a lot of skits in the music I listen to. I find them to be a distraction. But Doom is my exception. He peppers every album--including Born Like This--with plenty of humorous skits; most of which are seemingly excerpts from audio comic books, movies, news, or whatever else he happens to get his hands on. And they don't take the space where a song should be; they just serve as textural pieces to bring you into his fictional world a little bit more. While most rappers spend much of their time trying to convince their audience they actually are who they say they are, Doom is overtly creating a character in his music, every time (hence the mask).
Verses like, "More rhymin', pure diamond, tore hymen, poor timing, raw lining, Paul Simon touring--I'm in, boring typing, snoring pipe when hyper than four hype men," or one-liners like, "The man with no beard is more weirder than a she-male" and "A bad Samaritan averaging above average men" are just some of the reasons why I love this album. But besides all the clever wordplay, I find the production work is what really shines here. Beats often change up midway in the song, adding plenty of dynamics. Doom handles the good bulk of the production himself, but you'll also find some tracks by Jake One, Madlib, and the late great J Dilla ("Gazzillion Ear" and "Lightworks").
This is Hiphop to nod your head to ‘til your neck hurts. Doom knows how to entertain. His lyrics are both thought provoking and funny. His flow seems to get better with each release; he plays around with words like an artist with his colors: constantly mixing and experimenting to find something new. The music is raw. The drums bang hard. Doom proves once again, that he was indeed, born like this.
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