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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    DOOM reborn with familiar obsessions

    Since his last proper album, 2005’s The Mouse and the Mask with Danger Mouse, Daniel Dumile has been surprisingly quiet in front of the mic – and absent if rumors of stand-ins at his 2007 performances are true.

    Dumile’s return to his Dr. Doom persona, now just named DOOM, on Born Like This finds the rapper revisiting familiar obsessions: pop culture, food, superheroes, women and hateful MCs. Despite the welcome return, there is an unsatisfying unevenness to the album.

    The conceit is that DOOM is pursuing his latest scheme to take over the world. His trademark rapping remains intact: a dense yet clear diction. After the intro, DOOM comes out strong with “”Gazzillion Ear,”” with menacing, rapid-fire rhymes that do not overwhelm the production from the late, great J Dilla. DOOM exudes confidence and control, even though we may not fully comprehend his meaning.

    “”Ballskin”” is another highlight where DOOM addresses his online critics over his erratic concert behavior in a focused minute and a half: “”‘Disappear, reappear, disappear again / Villain not is here, he’s no Afro-American’ / If that’s the case, he’d be a bald African-American.””

    Over a gorgeous J Dilla production from Donuts, “”Lightworks,”” DOOM uses the bright, futuristic sounds as a set up for his antagonism toward superheroes, which leads to “”Batty Boyz.””

    This track finds DOOM spitting poisoned barbs at the homoeroticism in the relationships of many DC’s and Marvel’s superheroes. This blunt diatribe is surprising since he has never raised the topic on previous albums. This homophobia may fit with DOOM’s character, but it also seems to be poor judgment from an MC who usually eschews or skewers mainstream hip-hop’s more repugnant attitudes.

    Beyond the abovementioned songs, parts of Born Like This seem underdeveloped. Where they would normally have offered a glimpse of DOOM’s life and obsessions, many of the tracks lose focus and some of the rhymes are not as memorable as on previous albums and aliases. The guest MCs add moments, even songs, of brilliance but these are few and far between.

    It’s great to see a talented MC like Dumile back in front of the mic with his dark visions of the hip-hop world. Let’s hope we won’t have to wait too long for his next appearance, in whatever guise he may take on.

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