I listened to Rap when it was about changing your mind and not your trainers. It was no surprise that the music hit the mainstream. Take the most exciting music, smooth out the rough edges, tone it down, that’s where the big dollars are. The Hip Hop I love is Public Enemy, the Native Tongues collective, Eric B & Rakim, y’know, the old school, the true school.
In 2009 I heard this track “Cellz” from DOOM’s LP “Born Like This”. It made me sit up & listen again. The poet introducing the song is Charles Bukowski, the great chronicler of honesty and insight to be found in the American gutter & at the bottom of a glass. This sampling is so much more inventive than the standard James Brown drum break or some similar vintage soul/funk pinch. The poem “Dinosauria, We”, an apocalyptic promise, is an imaginative choice which matches DOOM’s pessimistic world view. I have the feeling from this that this guy “gets” Buk & this update is absolutely fitting. “Radiated men will eat the flesh of radiated men”…Oo-Ee-Oo !
DOOM has been around a long time. His first go-round at music ended messily with the death of his brother in a car accident & his label quitting on him. Since his re-emergence, the insistent and consistent rumble of his work has established a reputation as a rapper who means business. He has had more aliases than Klaus Barbie mostly based around a masked supervillain persona. He has had heavyweight collaborators like Danger Mouse and ThomYorke & whatever I have checked out has sounded good to me.
He now lives in the UK. Raised in the USA he was refused re-entry as he never had a green card. We will take him, like Lennox Lewis he will be one of our own as he takes on the world. This year’s release “Keys to the Kuffs” under the name JJ DOOM, reflects that he is influenced by anything that comes his way. In this song “Guvnor” the man is trying out his new cockney accent. The UK is a small market and it is easier to make a wider impression. In six months time we could all know about DOOM.
While I am on the subject Public Enemy have a new LP “Most Of My Heroes Don’t Appear On No Stamp”. If Chuck D wants to make new music then I will always have time to listen. I may not get my copy of “Muse Sick-n-Hour Message” out very often but I do still listen to my favoured PE LP “Apocalypse 91, The Empire Strikes Back”. This track, featuring a fellow New York original, DMC, is proper Hip Hop done properly.