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MF Doom Biography

Home > Music > M > MF Doom > Biography

Born: 1971/01/09
Birth Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
Years Active: 1988 - 1993, 1997 - present
Genres: Alternative Hip Hop, Underground Hip Hop, Abstract Hip-hop

MF Doom (born Daniel Dumile, January 9, 1971) is an English hip hop artist. The “MF” stands for “metal face,” and for tracks he has produced, “metal fingers.” He has appeared in several collaborative projects such as Danger Doom (with Danger Mouse) and Madvillain (with Madlib).

As Zev Love X, he formed the group KMD in 1988 with his younger brother DJ Subroc and another Rodan. A&R rep Dante Ross learned of KMD through the hip hop group 3rd Bass, and signed the group to Elektra Records. In 1991 KMD's debut album “Mr. Hood” was issued and became a minor hit through its singles “Peachfuzz” and “Who Me?” Subroc was struck and killed by a car in 1993 before the release of a second KMD album, titled “Black Bastards.” The group was subsequently dropped from Elektra Records that same week.

With the loss of his brother, MF Doom retreated from the hip hop scene from 1994 to 1997. In the late 1990s, he left New York City and settled in Atlanta. In 1997, MF Doom began freestyling incognito at open-mic events at the Nuyorican Poets Café in Manhattan, obscuring his face by putting a stocking over his head. He meanwhile had taken on a new identity, MF Doom, patterned after and wearing a mask similar to that of Marvel Comics super-villain Doctor Doom. He wears this mask while performing and isn't photographed without it. MF Doom's mask has undergone at least one design revision since its adoption (it is now an altered version of the mask worn by the character Maximus Decimus Meridius in the film “Gladiator”).

MF Doom released three singles on “Bobbito” García's Fondle 'Em Records, “Dead Bent” and “Greenbacks” in 1997 and “The M.I.C.” in 1998. In 1999 Fondle 'Em released MF Doom's first full-length LP, “Operation: Doomsday,” which included these singles and their b-sides, and additional tracks. Among the collaborators on these tracks were fellow members of the Monsta Island Czars collective (The M.I.C.), for which each artist took on the persona of a monster from the Godzilla mythos. Dumile went by the alias “King Ghidorah” and some of his appearances on the LP are credited to this persona, instead of that of MF Doom. He would revisit this character later under various name-spellings.

In 2003, Dumile released the King Geedorah album “Take Me to Your Leader.” Geedorah is credited as producer, but only appeared as an MC on four tracks. The majority of vocal tracks featured guest MCs, and the album featured several instrumental montages of sampled vocals from old movies and TV shows. Also in 2003, Dumile released the LP “Vaudeville Villain” under the moniker Viktor Vaughn (another play on Doctor Doom, whose "real name" is Victor von Doom). In 2004 he released a follow-up LP, “Venomous Villain.”

In 2004, the second MF Doom album “MM.. Food” was released by the Minnesota-based label Rhymesayers Entertainment. MF Doom's first commercial breakthrough came later in 2004, with the album “Madvillainy,” created with producer Madlib under the group name Madvillain. Released by Stones Throw Records, the album was a critical and commercial success. MF Doom was seen by mainstream audiences for the first time as Madvillain received publicity and acclaim in mainstream publications.

Though still an independent artist, MF DOOM took a bigger step towards the mainstream in 2005 with “The Mouse and the Mask,” a collaboration with producer DJ Danger Mouse under the group name Danger Doom. The album, released in October 2005 by Epitaph, was done in collaboration with Cartoon Network's “Adult Swim” and featured voice-actors and characters from its programs (mostly “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”). Danger Doom reached #41 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

In late January 2009, Lex records confirmed Doom's new album title to be “Born Like This,” and that the “MF” would be dropped from his name, known now as just “DOOM.” The album was released worldwide in March 2009.