21 April, 2014@3:10 pm
On the 15th anniversary of MF Doom’s seminal debut album, Operation Doomsday, we present our original review of the album, published on HipHopSite on April 20th, 1999. Our original rating was 4 out of 5, but today we recognize this as a 5 @ classic that it is.
MF Doom – Operation: Doomsday – @@@@@
In the early 90′s, KMD dropped one of the most slept on hip-hop classics of all time with Mr. Hood. The crew planned a follow up to that album with “Black Bastards”, but their label decided against it because of controversial album artwork that showed a character painted in blackface hanging from a tree. That was the last we heard from the group, (until their lost material was released last year) and their luck only get worse, as their DJ, Subroc, who was also brother to group member Zev Love X, died after being hit by a car. KMD’s other member, Onyx, left the group, and thus the crew was disbanded.
Enter MF Doom. Similar to the original Marvel Comics’ Dr. Doom, after tragedy struck him, Zev Love X abandoned the person he was, and put on the Metal Face of Doom. Soon after the Monster Island crew was born, which included Doom, as well as another M.F.er, the rumored wheelchair bound, Metal Fingers Grimm, who also reincarnated himself after making little noise on projects from Kool G Rap and a lost KMD remix, as the Grimm Reeper.
Via Bobbito’s Fondle ‘Em label, Doom started to release 12″ after 12″ of tracks that were the furthest thing from conventional hip-hop imaginable, but somehow still very inviting. Doom’s style wasn’t like the off key, off beat, annoying sound of your typical Company Flow clone, but instead a strange selection of beautiful melodic samples, laced with drums in the most unique way possible. Where hooks should have been, they weren’t. Sloppy samples weren’t chopped up with the same precision of the DJ Premiers or Beatnuts that we were used to. Outdated 80’s drum tracks were in the place of progressive beats of today. Unrehearsed rhymes were lazily spit, and sometimes even got buried under some bad mixing. But you know what? It sounded dope.
While many underground heads have anticipated his album, some might be disappointed to only find five new tracks, most of which are overshadowed by the previously released material. Nevertheless, with the new Fantastic Four skits in between, it all comes together nicely, and for the other 99% of the hip-hop audience, it’s an all new listening experience. Standing out among the new tracks is the too groovy “Rhymes Like Dimes”, which features Doom freestyling over the music from one of your dad’s dated pornos. “?” is a phat duet with Kurious featuring the familiar soundtrack that haunts the album’s skits. Otherwise, the classics are all here, with somewhat improved mix downs, still sounding fresh. “Tick, Tick” spotlights MF Grimm , as he slows it down and speeds it up in a schizophrenic manner. “Red & Gold” is a throwback to the early days of hip-hop love ballads, with an incredibly fat sample behind it. “Operation: Greenbacks” and “Dead Bent” are on a similar vibe with the lingering instrumental style that gives Doom’s beats their appeal. And the popular introductory track, “Hey!”, brings back the Scooby Doo loop that made it famous.
Unfortunately, only few will recognize this as quality hip-hop. The same people who can’t recognize the freshness of groups like The Lootpack or Co Flow, will most likely hate this album and quickly cast this away as some wack underground shit. If you consider yourself one of these kinds of people, you are better to leave this one alone. If you think you can open your mind to some innovative, unconventional hip-hop, then check for these Metal-ing kids.
Originally published April 20th, 1999.
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