For my little brothers Birthday (Mr. Man of the Illersapiens) My Moms bought him two tickets to see MF Doom at the Brixton Academy on October 14th 2010. Seeing as I had introduced littleman to my hero of all hero rappers many years back, and we had shared many conversations on the intricacies of Mr. Dooms flow, and Mr. Man has been hugely influenced in his own rhymes by Doom, he graciously decided that the best recipient for that spare ticket was Mr. Hare. Thanks Moms!!
I would like to say I bought Dooms first album "Doomsday" when it came out, but at that time around 1999 after years of being a die hard first generation Rap head, I was deeply disillusioned by what Puff Daddy and even Jay-Z were doing to Hip Hop. I caught Public Enemy when they played. I caught Native Tongues when A Tribe Called Quest only had "Lost my Wallet in El Segundo" released so far, and I was a huge fan of a little outfit called KMD who released an underground classic album called "Mr. Hood" (Peachfuzz). In that group was a kid with a sublime flow named Zev LOve X who's rhymes for many years rattled around my head.
(Pigment! Is this a defect of birth or more an example of the richness of Earth?).
I bought that album on Import!!
My Hip Hop Sabbatical was fruitful because I got into all the other music I had ignored during my backpack years. Fishbone, Peaches, Cutty Ranks, Larry Levan, Sublime, Nirvana and the huge influence of Trevor Jackson all spring to mind. I didn't completely abandon Hip Hop at any point. Wu Tang forever and Mos Def have never left my side.
But Anyway... in 2003 I bought a vinyl double LP (remember those) called "Vaudeville Villain" by a cat named Viktor Vaughn and a few months later in 2004 I bought a CD called Madvillain. Both pieces of work were completely new and weird and elaborate like Hip Hop was in 92!! To this day both remain the most played on my I-tunes. It turns out that Madvillain, Viktor Vaughn, another cat I soon discovered called King Geedorah are all persona's of one man called MFDoom. Doom is a poet of extraordinary calibre. MF Doom is also the grown up persona of one Zev Love X from KMD. My long lost friend. wiki-wiki!!
So back to Brixton. 5000+ people predominately white, predominately male, as to be expected. But I am pleased to note that 25% of the crowd are either female and there of their own volition or a plethora of independent ethnics like myself. If the world ended outside the Academy tonight, the gene pool on which future civilisation depended had a chance.
I knew I was taking a risk seeing Doom live because I have spent more time in the presence of this mans work than any other artist alive or dead. The rap-scapes are phenomenal. The vocabulary is expansive and the rhymes are mathematical. Algebraic even. What possible bonus to hear them in the flesh?
You know Doom's stage show is not going to consist of more than the mic and the mask. Maybe some visuals if you are lucky. To all three ends he did not disappoint. The real bonus was in the 5000+ other people who could mouth all the words to some of the most intricate slang you will ever hear. We all just wanted to be there to see it once. (Vaughn! The Flying Vaudeville villain. Who Ain't give a flying fuck who ain't not feelin' him!) I saw the show. I got the "Villain" T-shirt. I was there.
Anyway...the point is...most have never heard of him and probably never will. His fame is not crucial to the measure of his success. His work, for the people who pursue it, can't be bettered. We don't know what he looks like and we don't know where he lives. All we have is his work to stand or fall on it's own merits.
I wish all things were conceived in this way.