Tuesday, May 26, 2009
With comic book movies having reached a post-Nero stage of decadence, it's instructive to return to hip-hop, in which Marvel tropes still adduce good/evil dichotomies while the MC's croak that it's all in the game. I've never warmed to MF DOOM's: he seemed a GZA-esque smart guy whose internal rhymes demonstrated prolixity without ever cohering into the narratives that the detailed musical backdrops promised. No matter how many superhero or villain identities he assumed album to album, DOOM still coughs up that hydroponic denseness. Rapping alongside Ghostface on The Mouse and the Mask's "The Mask" or the new Born Like This' "Angelz F" does him no favors either; he sounds out of breath or confused, which is expected when your partner can shift tones and points of view faster than Clark Kent can jump in a phone booth. But Born Like This is his best anyway: the running time (Forty minutes! Gracious!) keeps him tight, the production an airy, nimble synthesis of every hip-hop trend of the last thirty years, from Run-DMC drum skitter ("Supervillainz") to vertiginous RZA keyboard downshifts and tempo changes ("Gazillion Ear"). DOOM understands a supervillain's only as good as his henchmen, so his henchmen don't distract -- with one exception. If I were him, I'd keep an eye on someone called Empress Starrh, whose MC'ing on "Still Dope" makes me suspect she ran off with more than the song. Best Unexpected Didactic Bit: "Crime pays no dental, nor medical"/Unless you catch your time in county, state or federal."
Posted by Alfred Soto at 10:19 PM