MF DOOM has died, his wife Jasmine Dumile announced today (December 31st). The elusive rapper died on October 31, according to Dumile. When Pitchfork reached him, a Rhymesayers representative confirmed the legality of the statement. No cause of death was disclosed. MF DOOM was 49 years old.
MF DOOM was born in London and grew up on Long Island, New York. DOOM, born Daniel Dumile, began rapping under the name Zev Love X in the KMD group with his younger brother DJ Subroc in the late 1980s. KMD released two albums: 1991 Mr. Hood and 1993 Black Bastards. DJ Subroc was hit by a car and killed shortly before Black Bastards was released. This marks the end of KMD until DOOM 2017 shared a previously unreleased track, “True Lightyears.”
In the late 90s, Dumile took on his MF DOOM role, wearing the mask of Marvel’s super villain Doctor Doom. In April 1999 he released his self-produced debut, Operation: Doomsday, which marked the beginning of a prolific series of albums and productions. He released the shared MF EP with MF Grimm in 2000 before taking on two new personalities for two landmark 2003 releases: King Geedorah for Take Me to Your Leader and Viktor Vaughn for Vaudeville Villain.
DOOM discussed its decision to put on the mask and persona in a 2009 New York interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates. “I wanted to go on stage and talk without people thinking about the normal things people think about. Like girls who say, “Oh, he’s sexy” or “I don’t want him, he’s ugly” and then other guys who rate you, “he said.” A picture always makes a first impression. But when it does to give a first impression, I might as well use it to control the story, so why not put on something like a mask? “
In March 2004, MF DOOM released its most famous album: the Madlib collaboration Madvillainy. They started working on the album in 2002 and combed through hundreds of beats and samples. The end product is a milestone in underground rap and combines DOOM’s free associative excellence with Madlib’s eclectic beats.
In 2004 alone, DOOM also released Venomous Villain (VV: 2), MM..FOOD and several instrumental albums by Special Herbs. 2005 brought the album Live From Planet X and another full-length collaboration, The Mouse and the Mask, with Danger Mouse.
After the overproductive half decade, DOOM’s production slowed significantly. His Special Herbs series started in 2001 and ended in 2005. He also released smaller projects like the Danger Mouse addendum Occult Hymn EP before releasing his final solo album Born Like This in 2009.
DOOM has also been accused of using masked lip-sync cheaters to replace it on shows. “Everything we do is a bad guy,” DOOM told Rolling Stone in 2009.
DOOM’s production remained sporadic through the 2010s. He appeared mainly for collaborative projects like NehruvianDOOM 2014 with Bishop Nehru, Czarface Meets Metal Face and WESTSIDEDOOM 12 “2017 with Westside Gunn. He performed shows and released one-off singles with Ghostface, they called their project DOOMSTARKS. He starred alongside Earl Sweatshirt and Thundercat Flying Lotus’ Captain Murphy song “Between Villains” on.
Just this month, DOOM was featured in a new song with BADBADNOTGOOD called “The Chocolate Conquistadors”. Nothing was mentioned on the publication of DOOM’s death.
Read Pitchfork’s feature, “In Search of Tomorrow: The Story of Madlib and Madvillainy from MF DOOM”.
This article was originally published on Thursday, December 31st at 5:03 pm Eastern. It was last updated on December 31 at 5:33 PM Eastern.