Apr 14, 2009 - 12:54 AM
On the track “That’s That,” DOOM asks: “Can it be I stayed away too long? Did you miss these rhymes while I was gone?” The answer is...kind of.
Born Like This, available now on Lex Records, is DOOM’s (no longer MF) follow-up to 2004’s Mm...Food and is his latest record since 2005’s The Mouse and The Mask with producer Dangermouse. In the lapse spent between these two records, DOOM appeared alongside many artists on various projects such as Peanut Butter Wolf’s B-Ball Zombie War and John Robinson's Who is this Man?.
The hip hop world seemed to sit still as we waited for DOOM’s return.
Born Like This begins with an odd intro speaking of DOOM’s diabolical plans. The skit is more or less skippable, with DOOM kicking in the aural door on "Gazillion Ear." Over J Dilla beats, DOOM reminds the listener why this album’s anticipation was high for quite some time with lines like, “Villain mad/ never ran with krills in his hand/ and wont stop rockin till he clocked in a gazillion grand/ Tilling away slant sands/ raps on backs of treasure maps/stacks to the ceiling fan.” DOOM never was a slacker on the mic with his Dr. Seuss-esque, tongue twisting rhymes.
Production wise, DOOM handles a good part of the album and definitely reminds the listener that he's no slouch on the MPC as well. Jake One, who recently collaborated with DOOM for his album White Van Music shows up for production. Madlib pops up for one song, which I hope means he is working with DOOM on a proper Madvillainy 2.
On "Cellz," DOOM uses a poem by Charles Bukowski called, “Dinosauria, We” which speaks on being born into a crumbling society that is ugly and painful. DOOM personifies the poem, as he stumbles onto the track, using his signature monotone voice to bring the apocalypse. It is here that DOOM finally realizes the point of the album, which seems to be: “the world is f*cked, so why not be the villain?”
To review this album is, really, to review every DOOM album ever made. It’s the simple mixture of dope beats plus dope rhymes that equal a good album. However, I find that to be the primary issue of this album. Though DOOM does deliver a solid piece of music overall, it seriously feels more like a mixtape than an album. The cohesive oddness that made Madvillainy or the off-the-wall cartoon caricature that is The Mouse and the Mask don’t resonate here. And to his credit, it can’t much because it isn’t a collaboration album. But where Operation: Doomsday was all about a super villain emcee emerging to change the rap game and Mm...Food was a food menu rap album, Born Like This never seems to get to a theme. Sure there are skits here and there to remind the listener that DOOM is a villain but they feel more as an after thought than a part of the album.
On “Absolutely,” DOOM quotes Lord Acton, an old English noble, who said, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Though Acton was talking about the Pope, I think it’s interesting that DOOM references this. With the DOOM impostor fiasco, you’d think DOOM would heed his own phrase. However, he is a villain and maybe he’s just saying that to confuse us. I mean, who are we to know the villain’s master plan?
When he's not messing with knobs and keyboards trying to make the next top 40 pop record, Aaron Williams can be found in the San Francisco State Journalism department, trying to write the next award winning profile piece.