March 12, 2021

Article at Blog Post

Remembering MF DOOM

This is a blurb I wrote for "DOOM, Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?" in Ryan Gaur's lovely post-malestrom newsletter. Ryan collected these blurbs from a wide range of writers and artists to collectively mourn the passing of the legend. Read my submissions below and check out the rest at the link provided above.

It’s hard to know where to begin. I could make a witty analogy about MF DOOM as a scorned super-villain with a justifiable backstory, or quote a couplet of prime rhymes like, “Stop and stick around, come through and dig the sound / Of the fly brown 6-0 sicko psycho who throws his dick around.” I could use a personal anecdote about how the man behind the mask taught me the significance of distinguishing art and industry, or pull a quote about his legacy from one of the many artists he inspired — as Open Mike Eagle said on the Dad Bod Rap Pod tribute, “I looked at a couple of other people’s [DOOM] freestyles and the link that I’m seeing is everybody having so much fun with language. The fun you can have with language when juxtaposed against the beat, that to me is something that people are going to point to as something they remember him by.” I could do all of the above in some kind of meta-commentary on the plethora of incredible tributes I’ve read and listened to, but no words seem fully able to define the scope of his legacy and the mystifying music he left us with — so I’m not going to try to. 

Instead of trying and failing to use these words to summon an incomplete phantom of DOOM’s presence in music or indulge myself in nostalgia, I want to do something more concrete. I want to encourage you to find a moment to make this about yourself. One of the things I’ve been most struck by since DOOM’s passing is the widespread level of individualism in the way DOOM has touched the industry. Everyone has a different favorite DOOM song or couplet and even when two people share the same, they do so for entirely different reasons. Due to his underground and anti-industry nature, everyone remembers when they first discovered the mask because it was a unique discovery. Maybe a friend put you on intentionally, insisting “you’ve never heard anything like this,” and for once they were right. Or maybe you saw an episode of The Boondocks and thought that backing music was so fire you had to look it up, and you were blown away by the treasure trove you discovered. No matter your experience, there is sure to be something unique and singular about YOUR story with DOOM. That’s what I want you to sit with right now. 

There are no words I can write that capture the weight of this loss because the heaviest words you can hear are as individualized as the man himself. As you sit in remembrance, allow yourself to channel the loss through your experience. Don’t shy away from that pain in your gut or the tear at the corner of your eye. That feeling is yours and no one else’s. For a legend who was unabashedly himself to the point that he embodied individual expression in art, reveling in your individual experience seems the most fitting way to remember the mask.