Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Man Who Created the Mask and the Exile Who Dons It

We knew something was up. He'd been far too prolific, rapidly growing a rabid and devout fanbase, to suddenly disappear from the scene with his reputation disintegrating into the image of an indolent pot-bellied derelict who left collaborators, record labels, and fans agitated with his inability to finish projects. Hip hop heads have longed for the completion of his two most sought-after records, respective joint efforts with Madlib and Ghostface Killah, for something like 5 years now.

Finally, we've at least got an explanation for his absence.

The metal-masked writer/producer/performer known as MF Doom (aka The Supervillain) was thwarted upon trying to re-enter the United States in 2010 after a European tour and has remained in exile living in London ever since. An article in Q Magazine explained:
British-born [Daniel] Dumile moved to the US as a baby, but was never naturalised, so avoided leaving the country. But in 2010, possibly assuming his American wife and kids would be enough to secure re-entry, he obtained a British passport and set out on tour.
On return he met with an official who "just wanted to see how many people she could make have a bad day that day." Doom didn't tell her his profession, making him the only rapper ever not to give it the Big I Am. "Imagine me saying that," he says with a laugh. "I'm no big rap star, I'm a regular guy." 
Since then he's been holed up in South London.

While stuck over there he has been recording music, though. Suddenly, he's got a new album about to drop, a collabo with producer Jneiro Jarel entitled Keys to the Kuffs, to be released on Stones Throw Records on August 21st.

Here's a new track from the record called "Guv'nor."

In an era ruled by digital music, I still find many releases from Stones Throw to be worthy of physical purchase because of their propensity to craft an all-around artful package. This album features more of the same and they're even including free copies of a 100+ page magazine fully devoted to Doom. Instant purchase for me. More on that here.

As part of the promo push for the magazine, they've put together some colorful YouTube videos including an excellent interview with the artist who originally assembled the Doom mask. Lots of New York City flavor in this one, check it out:

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