Monday, May 18, 2009
Audio View from the Tank: DOOM, Born Like This (2009)
By special request. (Shout out to Upstate NY!)
I had been waiting a while for the return of MF DOOM (now just DOOM), filling the time by playing his previous albums over and over. DOOM has ruined most other rap for me: everything and everyone else sounds stale, tired, bogus. Is there anyone else out there in hip hop as funny, as vibrant, or as mind-blowingly clever as DOOM/MF DOOM/King Geedorah/Victor Vaughn?
First, sighs of relief: Born Like This is mostly awesome and miles better than the misbegotten The Mouse and the Mask. DOOM has somehow managed to stay fresh and compelling over more than a decade now. His longevity is probably due to his humor and his unwillingness to ever grow up: the samples from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Star Trek, The Fantastic Four and all other manner of Saturday morning and afternoon detritus are served up here.
There are some uneven patches here: the excessively long samples of police reports, the litany of disaster from Charles Bukowski at the beginning of "Cellz" (which is interesting only the first couple of times you hear it), etc.
But these minor bumps in the road aren't enough to take away from the joy of the ride. There are several tracks I wanted to go on forever -- especially "Yessir!" (featuring Raekwon in fine, energetic, mid-90's form and DOOM production consisting of a sick ESG sample), "Angelz" (with Ghostface Killah and some very fine late-70's action-drama production from DOOM), and "Still Dope" (with a shockingly good staHHR). There are some interesting experiments, most notably the collaborations with Thom Yorke on the "Gazillion Ear" remix. And the late great J Dilla makes a couple triumphant appearances.
Perhaps not DOOM's greatest album ever, but featuring flashes of extreme brilliance. DOOM is still "in effect like alternative side of the street parking rules." 3 1/2 tentacles.