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M.F. Doom ends his rhyming hiatus after a three-year absence since his last release, Born Like This. Originally born in the U.K., Doom was denied entry back into the U.S. after travelling with a U.K. visa, forcing him to stay in London, where he recorded the entirety of his new record, J.J. Doom. A collaboration with Lex Records’ artist Jneiro Jarel, Doom rhymes, while Jarel produces each track. No stranger to Marvel Comics lore, the album is cleverly set off with another sample from their 70′s kids’ record catalog of J. Jonah Jameson saying, “I hate it, but some people call me J.J…..” Yes, Doom is back. [cont.]

Although Doom does not produce the album himself, and he’s stuck in the U.K., he’s taken full advantage of his situation and made lemons out of lemonade. Jarel’s production fits Doom perfectly, and his new neighborhood has acted as some brilliant source material, inspiring songs like “Guv’nor” and “(Cockney) Rhymin’ Slang”. His situation also acts as the basis for “Banished”, a noisy, bouncy track that where he laments “Brother got banished, refused out the U.S., he ain’t even Spanish…”. Meanwhile, “Wash Your Hands” lends some garage-bounce typically more suited for Dizzee Rascal or Tinie Tempah, yet Doom proceeds to make mince pie out of the track.

But most of all, Doom tapped some people in his new backyard for some subtle collaborations. Gorillaz/Blur frontman Damon Albarn appears briefly on “Bite The Thong”, while Portishead vocalist Beth Gibbs lends her haunting vocals to “GMO”, perhaps the album’s best track, in a bittersweet, hip-hop first.

Jneiro’s production is heavy, and may not be as accessible as Doom’s solo catalog of more familiar-yet-obscure samples. Sewn together with a series of strange vocal sample interludes, it lends a different sound for Doom, but one that works extremely well. The dancehall flavored “Bout The Shoes” or the hypnotic “Viberian Sun Part II”, for instance, don’t feature verses from Doom, but fit in well with the context of the rest of the album, allowing Jarel to get equal time to shine.

J.J. Doom is yet another satisfying collaborative LP for Metal Face Doom. It sits well next to Madvillainy and Danger Doom in his catalog, and carries on the legacy of Doom’s catalog. Now if we could just get that Doom Starks record…..

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12 Responses to "J.J. Doom – “Keys To The Kuffs” – @@@@ (Review)"
  • lp says:

    great album. I would probably give it 4.5 @’s.

  • Joshua says:

    How have we not heard anything about Doom being stuck in London? Especially on a hip-hop website.

  • Ben says:

    This is an overly generous review. This album is mediocre at best. I love doom, and was so pumped about this project, but it suffers from lackluster production. Doom is on point lyrically, but the beats are extremely sleepy.

  • KC says:

    I liked this a lot on the first listen – I’m not sure how much I’m going to reach back for it, though. I think Born Like This got 7 or 8 consecutive spins before I moved on to anything else, whereas this was nice, but I didn’t feel the need to immediately hit “repeat”.

  • The man the myth says:

    I agree with Ben, the beats on this thing are more miss than hit. Doom will always be dope, but not to impressed with this. 3 @ at best

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