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by Kevin Thomas

When Canadian jazz group BADBADNOTGOOD and Wu Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killa teamed up for a studio album, many expected it to be an amazing combination of skillful rap and modern, youthful jazz. ‘Sour Soul’ did not disappoint in any way.

However, hip-hop heads were pleasantly surprised when they saw MF Doom on the feature list.

British-born, American hip-hop artist, Daniel Dumile, known for his several super villain stage persona and collaborations with the likes of Madlib, Bishop Nehru, and Jneiro Jarel, has remained in the shadows of hip-hop for most of his career. Dumile started his career as Zev Love X with British-American trio Kausing Much Damage. He became MF Doom after the death of his younger brother and fellow KMD member, DJ Subroc, was hit and killed by a car and subsequently dropped by Elektra Records in 1993 weeks before KMD’s second album release.

As MF Doom, or Metal Fingers Doom, Dumile began participating in open-mic events wearing a stocking to conceal his identity. In 1997 and 98, Dumile released three singles under Fondle ‘Em Records. ‘Operation: Doom’, Dumile’s first solo, self-produced LP, was released in 1999 and featured Marvel’s Doctor Doom rapping on the album art, which is said to be the inspiration for MF Doom’s signature mask. However, Dumile was not just MF Doom on the album. He also appeared as King Geedorah, the mythical three-headed dragon known to challenge Godzilla.

In the 2000’s Dumile’s career began to take off. He began to release LP after LP and collaboration after collaboration with only weeks in between in most cases. Dumile took to the cover of the mask to release music under the monikers MF Doom, King Geedorah, Viktor Vaughn, Madvillain, DANGERDOOM, and DOOM. This decade was host to 8 instrumental releases, 9 collaborative releases, and 5 solo releases under the several different personas.

During this period, Dumile took a few small steps towards the mainstream. He began working with Adult Swim Records, Rhymesayers Records, and Stones Throw Records. Dumile also worked with the Gorillaz on their 2005 release Demon Days and produced tracks for Ghostface Killa’s two 2006 releases. After the success of the DangerDOOM EP’s, Dumile signed with Lex records and began working on ‘Born Like This’.

In 2010, Dumile began working with Thom Yorke and Jneiro Jarel and toured Europe with them as well. However, after the end of the European tour, Doom was denied reentry into the United States due to legalites regarding visas. Since this incident, he has lived and recorded in South London working with other Lex artists.

As of late, Dumile has appeared on tracks with Earl Sweatshirt, Flying Lotus, Captain Murphey, and Thundercat. Most recently he appeared on the track “Ray Gun” from BADBADNOTGOOD and Ghostface Killa’s ‘Sour Soul,’ which has received good reviews and praise. While Dumile is still a lesser-known artist, his recent collaboration has given him new opportunities and listeners. MF Doom and Ghostface Killa fans are on the look out for the release of their full LP collaboration and it is rumored that Flying Lotus and MF are working on a full-length project as well.

After almost 25 years, MF is moving out of the comfortable shadows and showing his face in mainstream rap. With “Ray Gun,” MF Doom is becoming a more recognizable name in American hip-hop.


Watch “Ray Gun” here:


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