MF DOOM, Legend of Underground Hip Hop, Has Passed

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Beloved rap icon Daniel Dumile, best known as MF DOOM, has passed away at 49. The MF DOOM Instagram account posted a statement from his wife on New Year’s Eve. MF DOOM passed on Halloween, but his family chose to mourn in private before going public.

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As soon as the news broke, memorials came pouring in. Casual fans and famous rappers who cite the underground hip hop artist as a major influence alike are in mourning.

Drake, The Weeknd, Tyler, The Creator, TyDolla $ign, JPEGMAFIA, Playboi Carti, Q Tip, Mos Def, Childish Gambino, and countless others have paid their respects to their favorite musician. Though he never blew up in the mainstream, every mainstream rapper credits him as paving the way for them to make it in hip hop. The man was a cult icon, purposefully elusive, and prone to playing pranks to poke fun at the music industry. He notoriously used stand-ins at a handful of shows. He’d send in someone else wearing his famous mask to a gig, earning the ire of both industry and fans alike.

MF DOOM: Masked Mystery

MF DOOM got his start as part of the rap group KMD in the late 1980s, but the trio disbanded in the early 1990s after his brother, DJ Subroc, passed. It wasn’t until 1997 that he put on the mask and took on the mantle of MF DOOM, rebooting his career at open mics. In 1999 he released his debut album Operation: Doomsday, now hailed as an underground rap classic. His lyrical wit, blunt honesty, and rejection of the norms of mainstream rap drew the attention of listeners who were looking for something with grit.

Following his debut, he continued to wear the mask and stayed out of the limelight as much as he could during his entire career. Though he did interviews, they were few and far between. MF DOOM, a true auteur, was more interested in letting his music speak for him.

His last contributions to the music world came in 2020, when did a series of collaborations. He featured on ‘Meathead’ with Bishop Nehru’s track, ‘Cookie Chips’ with Rejjie Snow and Cam O’bi, and ‘The Chocolate Conquistadors’ with BADBADNOTGOOD for Grand Theft Auto Online.

MF DOOM never won a Grammy. He never went platinum on an album. But his legacy as the underground bridge between 90s R&B-influenced hip hop and modern-day fast-paced rap will never be forgotten. RIP MF DOOM.

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