Since the day he covered his face with pantyhouse and performed at a open mic hosted by the legendary Nuyorican Cafe in 1998, Daniel Dumile—better known to the world of hip-hop as DOOM—has developed an international cult following cognizant of his love for obscurity. What remains a great mystery to the world is what Mr. Dumile was doing in the quiet years between the 1993 when his group KMD’s Black Bastards LP was shelved by Elektra after the untimely passing of his younger brother, and the 1999 release of Operation: Doomsday on his friend & underground aficionado Bobbito Garcia’s Fondle ‘Em Records. But there’s one thing sonically DOOM has always made obvious to the world: his love for collaboration.
Depending on the year or the label—or rather the slew of nom de guerres he’s using at the time King Geedorah, Monsta Island Czars and Viktor Vaughn come to mind—DOOM has always been able to round up a intimidating crew of rhyming cohorts to come together and beast out on his releases. In time for The Hundreds’ collaboration with the artist, we’ve combed through the vaults and picked some of our favorite gems he’s put out with his friends, past and present.
“?” (or “Questions”) – MF DOOM ft. Kurious
“Don’t question how we live, question what we give”
Kurious Jorge the Cubarican from Manhattan Valley made a name for himself in New York during the early ‘90s with seminal hits like “Uptown Hit,” my personal favorite “Walk Like a Duck” and “I’m Kurious.” A member of the Upper West Side Constipated Monkeys crew comprised of young graffiti kids and artists such as the now-legendary underground radio jock and sneakerhead Bobbito, as well as his bud Lord Sear under the tutelage of Pete Nice, Kurious represented the best, most interesting mix between the Afrocentric, street culture, and the Nuyorican scene developing in the city.
DOOM and Kurious (the name of the Constipated Monkeys crew referenced by the obscure Last Poets sample is routinely shouted out on Black Bastards) met in the late ‘80s via the artistic collective that orbited around mutual friends 3rd Bass as the epicenter (many know this affiliation to have eventually lead to the Hammer & Beastie Boy diss “Gasface”). Both artists were curiously scorned by major label incidents and later had coincidental comeback moments on Bobbito’s vinyl only Fondle ‘Em label during the late ‘90s when the return of the underground movement in New York ascended into moderate commercial appeal. What was captured was a timely ode to the late warrior Subroc (who Kurious made a tribute to on his own debut in ‘94) as well a curious snapshot of rappers in their mid-30s trying to maneuver in an industry that had long forgotten them.
“No Snakes Alive” – King Geedorah feat. MF Grimm (as Jet Jaguar) & Rodan
“Serpents slitherin, sidewind searchin”
Although the beef between the two is now another unfortunate saga in hip-hop history (with sneak disses from one another living on infamy), it wasn’t always this way with old colleague MF Grimm. From the same neighborhood as childhood friend Kurious as well as a vital member of the Constipated Monkeys crew that they all hailed from, it was as teenagers running around the hip-hop scene in New York that the two first met. The brotherhood shared between the avid comic book fans was to such an extent that they would later even share names with one another: MF originally standing for the Mad Flows nickname earned as a battle rapper during a stint in California. In fact, the day after recording their earliest joint together (the “What a Niggy Know” remix peep) Grimm was shot and permanently paralyzed from the waist down from a gunman who he had a drug-related dispute with.
Not to be stopped, it was in Grimm’s basement later on that DOOM recorded his debut Operation: Doomsday (Grimm along with Kurious are some of the rare guest features on there) and the rest was rap history. Together they created the Monsta Island Czar collective (named after the home of Godzilla) that served as the creative basis for many of their own adventures into esotericism, old ‘70s cartoons, and public access television. In a comic book-influenced phase in 2003, Grimm under the pseudonym Jet Jaguar was featured prominently throughout the King Geedorah sessions that became Take Me To Your Leader. A beautiful example of alliteration (“Achieve altered, attitudes and angles, angels answer Aura, illumination, awesome interpretation”). When listening to their records together, the chemistry between the old mates is undeniable and reminds many fans of simpler times.
“Rap Snitch Knishes” – MF DOOM feat. Mr. Fantastik
“Type profile low, like A in Paid in Full”
Who is Mr. Fantastik? This has been a mystery since the burning of the Great Library in Alexandria. Aliens? Rodan? Count Bass D? A visitor from Monsta Island? This has been an internal debate online for over a decade now at this point. Besides his feature here and on “Anti-Matter,” DOOM fans have pondered this question and will continue to do so for centuries to come until his return with Quetzalcoatl. In any in case, 2004 marks his memorable contribution to hip-hop as a part of the classic satire on Mm.. Food about the typical rap archetype of snitching that has somehow oddly ingrained itself within our community. When will they learn???
“Let Me Watch” – Viktor Vaughn feat. Apani B Fly
“‘I’d rather masturbate than fuck with Vik Vaughn”
A modern day tale of young love and tragedy much in the vein of something Shakespeare would have written about two destined for disaster, “Let Me Watch” is a duet featuring DOOM operating under the guise of Viktor Vaughn the pained scientist, accompanied by Nikki aka Apani B Fly. Apani made a name for herself in the New York underground scene with her “Estrogen” single, appearances at the early Lyricist Lounge sessions, and her early recordings with DJ Spinna. She easily takes the show with her defiance to the sexual advances made by DOOM’s despicable Viktor character.
The back and forth between the two is representational of the ‘90s golden age era of rhyming exemplified by A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, only this time showing the force and determination of a woman who knows what she wants and how she deserves to be treated and spoken to. What starts as the beginning of a hot date quickly spirals into another tried and true story of a engagement that would have made a great episode on Blind Date. Viktor was no match for her and in the ends acquiesces to her vicious demands, only asking if he can watch.
“Raid” – Madvillain feat. MED
“Thanks to rap I ain’t got a dime”
While the epic sonic duet that is Madvilliany does have appearances by Wildchild and Lord Quas as well as Stacy Epps on the sultry “Eye,” Raid is the only true feature on the album with a young M.E.D. An interesting flip of one of a dark jazz standard crafted by one of Miles Davis preeminent acolytes Bill Evans, it’s one of the many upbeat highlights emblematic of the energy that came out of the Mount Washington bomb shelter that served as the studio of the equally cryptic character that is Madlib. A true ode to the Oxnard scene, Madlib equipped brethren MED with challenging task of following DOOM with a verse on a pitched up banger of a track—something he came out doing effortlessly as any fan of Stones Throw then and now would easily hold up as one of his prized achievements.