A few weeks ago, I got a cryptic e-mail from a rep of Lex Records asking me not to leak the new DOOM album. I responded, as I always do, that I never post full rips, and only post a few songs at most of every submission. Then, a few days ago, I received a CD with DOOM’s mask on the cover and a promise of five tracks.
DOOM (he seems to have dropped the “MF”), has a lot to answer for, after pulling a Gallagher at a string of shows last year and leaving the stage early at others, and for promising a project with Ghostface but never delivering. The question is, can he win his fans back?
Based on the sampler, signs point to yes. “Ballskin” is an odd, disjointed piece that cuts off quickly. All of DOOM’s work is thick with words—it’s his trademark—and his flow is always flat, no-nonsense. That hasn’t changed. I’m not loving this first cut, but I’m also thinking it’s just a snippet. “That’s That” seems to be a snippet, too. DOOM isn’t an artist you want to hear pieces of. He takes his time to spread out, and often it’s hard to “get” one of his tunes until you’ve heard the whole thing.
The promo CD offers the full version of “Angelz,” and that’s a cut I’m really digging. It’s an update of Charlies Angels, complete with a sample from the theme. “Cellz” is also interesting, but it seems to end abruptly by fading into one of DOOM’s trademark sound bytes.
The track everyone is writing about is “Lightworks,” which is produced by J. Dilla. And it means produced here—DOOM didn’t just rob one of Dilla’s beats. The song is magical, with a fantastically surreal hook. Unfortunately, it’s a snippet. But this one gets me excited.
Can’t wait for the record to drop, but I wonder it’s coming on a U.K. imprint label? Why does he release what seems to be an outtake from MF DOOM’s stonesthrow project with Dilla? Why have his live shows featured imposters? Is it significant that he samples beat poet Charles Bukowski on, “Cellz,” which MF DOOM also did on his MF Food album?
I’m still wondering, in all frankness, whether DOOM is still alive. Because if he’s dead, this album should move units. Nobody sells rap like dead guys. Seriously, though, this promises to be another winner from one of the most intelligent, agile, and fascinating MCs in hip hop history.