Reviews Madvillain Madvillainy



On this highly anticipated release from arguably two of underground hip-hop's most interesting personalities- wunderkind producer/MC Madlib (a.k.a. Otis Jackson, Jr., Quasimoto, Yesterday's New Quintet) and eccentric rapper MF Doom (a.k.a. Daniel Dumile, Viktor Vaughn, King Geedorah, Zevlove X) combine each of their unique talents to create an undeniably challenging and masterfully constructed record.

Although there's an unquestionable cohesion to each of the twenty-two tracks, an almost disjointed quality hangs over the proceedings. The result is an effect similar to a single long song cobbled together from various sessions- albeit a single, long, intensely captivating song. This doesn't come as a surprise, considering the tracks that would eventually constitute Madvillainy originated from a variety of source demos Madlib had been kicking around and, subsequently, have been kicking around the darker corners of the world wide web for a time.

From beginning to end, MF Doom's trademark smoky, grizzled, vaguely seductive delivery remains simultaneously inviting and world-weary. This is especially true on tracks like "Meat Grinder" and "Curls", where he lays down such words of wisdom as: "villain get the money like curls/they just tryin' to get a nut like squirrels in this mad world/land of milk and honey with the swirls/where reckless nekkid girls/get necklaces of pearls". Despite the fact that Madvillainy feels largely like Madlib's baby, Doom's exceedingly original and often brilliant wordplay paint complex portraits of a variety of topics and, in the process, manage to anchor the production quite effectively.

On the production side of the deal, Madlib's beats are consistently laidback and inventive, showcasing a bit more grit, emotion, and humor than ever before (check out the hilarious samples littered throughout "America's Most Blunted"). The production also appears to tread a similar path as his work on last year's Shades of Blue (an album on which he was afforded unregulated access to the Blue Note archives), conveying just enough to keep things interesting but never so much that the beats overshadow the rhymes. Moreover, the production manages to incorporate a number of diverse genres without ever coming off as gimmicky or contrived.

Even though it's barely April, Madvillainy is a strong contender for hip-hop record of the year. Hell, even the album art is great! A truly inspiring testament to the work two visionaries at the pinnacles of their respective games can accomplish. I certainly hope this isn't the last collaboration we hear from these two characters.

8.9 / 10Jonathan
Hot Dog Dayz zine
Leave a comment

8.9 / 10

8.9 / 10

Share this content
Radio K 2
Recent reviews

Stone Temple Pilots

Stone Temple Pilots

8.5 / 10 Stone Temple Pilots - Stone Temple Pilots album cover

Jeff Gutt has a thankless task before him. Some might say impossible, even. He's replacing Scott Weiland, one of the most loved and recognizable frontmen of the last 30 years, ...


With Doom We Come

8.0 / 10 Summoning  - With Doom We Come album cover

Summoning have been at the forefront of Tolkien inspired metal for the twenty five years they’ve been a band. Formed in Austria in 1993, the duo take from the world ...

The Great Divide

Linger Over, Linger On

6.5 / 10 The Great Divide - Linger Over, Linger On album cover

The Great Divide came to my attention four years ago when they released their second release White Bird. At that time The Great Divide reminded me of bands like Stretch Arm Strong (Rituals ...



Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.