A Look Back At Madvillainy

Posted: March 26, 2014 in Dyscyplynary Action, Music Review
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2004 is a year to be celebrated. Well, the celebration started not too long ago with the retrospectives of Kanye West’s debut album The College Dropout. Coming at a time where bravado and machismo permeated through much the inner-rap circles, Kanye began a career of being a trendsetting rebel that spans a decade of controversy and admiration. It is also the year where Usher released what I still consider one of the greatest R&B albums of all-time with Confessions.

That year was also the my formal introduction to Madlib and MF DOOM, courtesy of a couple of fanboys pimping out how good the latter was as a rapper. As far as Madlib is concerned, I always heard him through scattered songs on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and thought they were dope. I never made an effort to explore him further until this album and the same applied for DOOM. You could say it was a life-changing experience in some way, as it was an album I’ve never endured in a fascinating way as this did.

There was a time where I was completely out of rap in favor for Nu-Metal and Metalcore, so my reintegration consisted of albums from A Tribe Called Quest and Common. Back then, I thought that was the ultimate cream of the crop, sans a Wu-Tang record here and there. But it was listening to two enigmatic figures in Hip-Hop showing chemistry that would make you think they were together for years. It’s exuberant, funky, witty, comedic, and everything a Hip-Hop fan wanted out of an album. It has been lauded by fans and critics as one of the greatest rap albums of the past decade and since then fans have been clamoring for an Encore (no Marshall Mathers).

The problem with that is that these two men are so elusive that the possibility of a sequel became as doubtful as the years went on. MF DOOM has been known to stay in the shadows, even in live performances where he no-shows or replaced with someone else. Madlib is just as puzzling, doing a number albums and compilations but keeping his collaborations terse. He recently dropped the excellent Pinata LP with Freddie Gibbs, timing well into the 10th Anniversary of the album that put him on the map.  I play that album and as much as I enjoy it (along with every Madlib-produced project beforehand), I continue to go back to the dusty, boom-bap quirkiness of DOOM’s lines off of “Operation Lifesaver (Mint Test)” and the ever-so-ridiculous “Fancy Clown”.

Or maybe it’s the carnival-esque loop of “Accordion” that reels me in, with Madlib twisting the drums to make it sound like a ticking time clock. From the very beginning, fans knew they were listening to something special. DOOM tosses in lines of bombastic quality from ‘Got more lyrics than the church got “Ooooooh Lawds”’ as it melts into the woozy-background of instrumentals. Both of their alter-egos make a presence as well; with Quasimoto and Viktor Vaughn respectively appear on the album in effective ways.

As I made mention before, “Fancy Clown” was self-depreciation at its finest, with Viktor making threats towards DOOM’s other alter-ego Metal Face – who happens to be fucking Vik’s girl – and telling his woman to kick rocks. It was also the first time I made truly conscious efforts to seek samples and ZZ Hill’s “That Ain’t The Way You Make Love” was one of the many I would play time and time again.

There would be times where I would get stuck listening to the trifecta loop of “Eye”, “Supervillain”, and “ALL CAPS” weekly and rapping with my roommates during my freshman year in Hampton University. I can play this album any time and get the same exact feeling as I heard it the first time around. It really isn’t a clear retrospective, but more of a time that I’m happy that I’m able to write about this album and the impact it had on me as a music fan. It is very likely to say that DOOM and Madlib won’t live up to the expectations of their sequel, let alone release Madvillainy 2 or whatever they call it. All I know is that they have this album at their staple and it will forever be herald as classic from all within the rap circles. Their legacies will be intact to this project for the rest of their lives and from that alone, I can see where it would just stay as one album from them alone.

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