Let’s be honest, it’s not easy to follow up Operation: Doomsday.
As I wrote about last week, I found it hard to see MF DOOM as a villain after listing to Operation: Doomsday. There wasn’t much, if any that made me see him in that light. Maybe DOOM knew this. With the last track of Operation: Doomsday, “Hero vs. Villain (feat. E. Mason)”, DOOM even explored this idea. This was the listener’s struggle. Villain or simply misunderstood?
Well it’s been four years since Operation: Doomsday and DOOM is back. This time he is announcing his villainess with authority. Not only is DOOM, now going under the moniker of King Geedorah, stating he is in fact a villain, but rather he’s *so much* of a villain that he’s personified himself as a three-headed gold space monster. The other featured on the album? They’re personified as other villains in the Godzilla cannon. Nothing like making a statement and doing so in the form of monsters. DOOM went from a super villain of the comic book variety and extrapolated it to, literally, a band of monsters.
When it comes to the album as a whole, it is clearly a concept album. Take Me To Your Leader is much more of a concept album, in my opinion, than Operation: Doomsday was. This is easily the album’s biggest draw–that or the production. Much like on Operation: Doomsday, DOOM does all the production himself, again under a different pseudonym–Metal Fingered Villain. Metal Fingered Villain is, well, MF DOOM. I’m not talking about Daniel Dumile, I’m talking about MF DOOM. I love this meta idea that the music of the Metal Fingered Villain, Dumile’s album prior, is fueling the music of this ride of the monsters. It doesn’t matter if it’s a DOOM album, King Geedorah or Viktor Vaughn album, Dumile is always reminding us he’s a villain. I talked a little in my last post as to why I believed this to be so, so I won’t go into that here.
The track that best exemplifies the brilliance of Metal Fingered Villain’s production has to be the track “Monster Zero”. Composed entirely of samples, “Monster Zero” does so much for propelling the album’s storyline as well as showcasing the production. “Monster Zero” uses foreshadowing:
It is very likely that one or more of you know this individual
Someone who’s experienced working in a laboratory
With access to select biological agents
a possible reference to Viktor Vaughn, DOOM’s next moniker and next album. The track also uses allusion to equate Dumile with King Geedorah:
Someone who’s standoffish and works in isolation
A killer who may have used off hours in a laboratory to produce-
illustrating Dumile’s work ethic in the studio and equating it to a super villain in their respective laboratory. The track also, complying with hip hop basics, and going back to what Dumile himself called, “bragging rap” in an interview, says:
Pay heed to my warning, the entire Human race will perish from the Earth
When the monster, Geedorah passes, only flaming ruins are left
This is Dumile’s way of bragging and boasting about himself.
“Monster Zero” really is, in my opinion, the best track on the entire album. “One Smart Nigger” does this as well, but not with nearly the success of “Monster Zero”. This isn’t to say that there aren’t other great tracks on this album. Frankly, though, the majority of the features on this album are quite forgettable. This is with the exception of Biolante’s verse (rapper Kurious) on “Fastlane” and mystery rapper Mr. Fantastik’s back and fourth with DOOM on “Anti-Matter”. Other than that, none of the other features really stood out to me. All in all, they work as one though, being a concept album and listening to the album straight through, as I believe Dumile intended.
When it comes to Dumile’s rapping, it’s hard to top “The Fine Print” (though the back and fourth with Fantastik on “Anti-Matter” does come close. From the first line, “Render unto Geedorah what is Geedorah’s”, Geedorah straight up baffles with his rhymes, referencing everything from 70s cartoons about sharks to Three’s Company. This is the Dumile I love, no hooks, just straight bars. The end of the track also shows off Metal Fingered Villain’s sampling and production again.
I’m here to tell you that the future of your planet is at stake
I urge that you transmit that message to the nations of the urge
Now do you feel like telling me where your leader is?
Then the album just ends. This may be the most villainous act of King Geedorah–giving the listener no resolve. The verse that accompanies the track, that of Geedorah’s, of Dumile’s, and there he is, back to his “bragging rap”. Then it just ends. He’s making us want more. He starts this with his lack of verses on the album, and ends it with no resolution. We want more King Geedorah. He’s making himself an anti-hero. We’re rooting for King Geedorah.
I’m not sure what to make of this whole,
Are you a homo? (Like the others)
We help thousands of homos every month!
It’s in the old days right
The women knew who the women were
The women knew who the men were
The men knew who the women were
And the men knew who the men were
ending of the album. In many ways it sounds quite homophobic, and expresses a time when you didn’t have to wonder about a person’s gender. This however, really trips me up. Not sure what is trying to be said here.
All in all, Take Me To Your Leader is an alright album. I think the concept essence of it really works and shows Dumile’s ability to really compose a concept album with great success. I think the transitions between monster-esque and rappers from the city is somewhat shaky at times and may or may not mesh in the sense of the storyline and concept of the album, but it works enough to achieve what I believe Dumile was trying to achieve. Better than Black Bastards and Mr. Hood, not quite as good as Operation: Doomsday.