Feature – MF DOOM Discussion Week Seven: A Look at Viktor Vaughn’s “Venomous Villain”

It’s the second time around for Viktor Vaughn. He’s back and he’s just as evil as ever.

Venomous Villain

Coming off of the critically acclaimed Madvilliany with Madlib on production, it was time to reprise the role of mad scientist and murderer Viktor Vaughn.

Venomous Villain debuted as the shortest DOOM album to date. At only 12 tracks, with two interludes and a remix, Venomous Villain was nearly 25 minutes shorter than it’s precursor Vaudeville Villain.

His second album of 2004, DOOM takes a backseat with production on Venomous Villain. The production is handled by various producers such as System D-128, Diplo, DiViVCi, Dub-L and others. This is both a pro and a con for DOOM in this case. With tracks like “Ode to Road Rage” produced by Dub-L, and “Dope Skill” produced by DJ I.N.C., DOOM sounds very strong on the track. However, with other tracks like “Pop Quiz (Extra Credit Remix)” DOOM’s spitting seems compromised by the beat.

What stood out to me the the most about Venomous Villain, was just how dark it can be. “Back End” the first track that follows the opening sample track, begins with a long dark and creepy intro. It also focuses around killing women. This ins’t the only references to killing women. They pop up in other tracks like “Ode to Road Rage” and the spectacular, and in my opinion, the best track on the album, “Bloody Chain [feat. Poison Pen]”. I don’t quite know how to feel about the violence towards women and the serial killing of women by Viktor Vaughn. Part of it could be DOOM stating his villain status with Viktor Vaughn. As I wrote before in a prior DOOM write up, Viktor Vaughn was the evilest of the villains, where as MF DOOM was misunderstood, King Geedorah was literally a three headed space monster, and Madvillain was a rather tame villain. I’m not sure if going to the level of murdering women was necessary in the case of Venomous Villain, but it’s an artistic choice.

There’s something about Venomous Villain that just simply, isn’t satisfying. Yes, there some great tracks on here, including “Dope Skill”, “Ode to Road Rage” and “Bloody Chain”. The storytelling in “Bloody Chain” is very well crafted, with a great feature from Poison Pen, who is probably Chino XL. However, overall, as a while, Venomous Villain falls flat. The prior DOOM albums has a real concept behind them, where as Venomous Villain sounds more like a compilation of leftovers rather than a conscious cohesive whole. In my opinion, this is the weakest DOOM album to date. I would say even K.M.D.’s Mr. Hood surpasses Venomous Villain.

From ‘Cole: Week Fifteen – New Moves Week

“Clever girl.”
Jurassic Park

When this track dropped last year a lot of people said it was wack…but I think it’s cleverer than most gave it credit for.

He should change his name to Busta Move. ^^

No exact focus this week, but if you want some direction, my interest lies in production (both of the music, and the music video).

From Sky: Week Fifteen – Believe the Hype Week

I know, I know. It’s Sunday. I usually send these on Sunday anyways, but it’s after you’ve gone to bed. I’m breaking the rules. I know that…. but I’m just so excited for this one.

As you probably already guessed, this week is all about Jay Electronica. Now, this week needs a little prefacing.

Read this
Written by the one, the only, the legend, Homeboy, the Yung Snuggie, this scratches the surface as to who Jay Electronica is.

Next, check out this Noisey article, but don’t listen to the track:

Now… on to the music.

This is Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge)

This was Jay Electronica’s first, and only full project.

…and this is what he has become:

My question this week involves no really in depth analysis or research.
It’s simple:
Do you believe the hype?

-S

From Sky: A Response to Week Fourteen’s Response

Part of me regrets not using this track as my pick, but I can use it here so it’s all good. Peep it.

“If Pirus and Crips all got along / They’d probably gun me down by the end of this song / Seem like the whole city go against me” – Kendrick Lamar, “m.A.A.d. City”

Crips vs. Bloods –> C vs. B –> Compton as compared to Bompton.

YG is a blood who’s just bickin back being bool.

YG

What I find really amazing about My Krazy Life is that it’s like the flip side to Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City. Kendrick was the good kid. The kid in a neighborhood that wasn’t his (to see Sherane).

“Man down, where you from, nigga?”
“Fuck who you know, where you from, my nigga?”
“Where your grandma stay, huh, my nigga?”
“This m.A.A.d city I run, my nigga”

Again from “m.A.A.d. City”.

YG is the guy who would have been on the other end of Kendrick’s journey to Sherane’s.

“I’m two blocks away, 250 feet
And six steps from where she stay, she waving me ‘cross the street
I pulled up a smile on my face, and then I see
Two niggas, two black hoodies, I froze as my phone rang”
-from “Sherane a.k.a. Master Splinter’s Daughter”

“Kendrick Lamar’s album he’s sayin’ basically he was always around that, his friends, his cousins, his homeys was always doin’ that, so he was always around it,” YG told MTV News of the sprinkles of Cali gang culture that fuel MTV’s Hottest MC MC K-Dot’s good kid, m.A.A.d city LP. “I’m saying I do it, I’m in it. That’s the difference.”

That’s a quote from an MTV article titled “YG To Chronicle Life As Bad ‘Kid’ In Kendrick Lamar’s m.A.A.d city“.

YG is so Blood that he ain’t even gonna call it Compton. To him, it’s Bompton. It always will be.

From ‘Cole: A Response to Week Fourteen’s Response

“I’ll be right by your side/ Til 3005”
-Gambino

I feel like this week was a real throwback to something we see all the time now, an emphasis on years in hip hop which, as you so astutely pointed out, is a huge facet of a lot of hip hop genres. There’s something about representing a certain year or decade that everyone can relate to–everyone belongs to a certain time. I know, I’m a broken LP, zeitgeist all day every day…you must get tired of hearing it, haha. But it’s my reality.

This song is a nice response to the criticism that Hip Hop is a fad, that it has no longevity, that there’s no real substance and no real growth of a culture that has ultimately encompassed a large slice of our popular culture.

Souls of Mischief

What was beautiful to me about this track (and the reason for this week’s post title) is that it’s a little performative. You’re right when you say they’re doing the everyday things of the 90’s– going to malls, getting swag, all those consumer-driven tasks– but there’s something they don’t say.
They don’t say Infinity.

All they say is
“this is how we chill/ from 93 til.”
But until when? It’s like they know when time starts but not when it ends.

What’s interesting about nowadays is that it’s pretty definitive when rappers use a year, or a time frame, where things end. I mean, Gambino’s got a year, even if it is at some distant time in the future– he doesn’t give the idea of infinity a chance. But for Souls of Mischief there’s an uncertainty there that I like.

From ‘Cole: Week Fourteen Response

Compton + Bomb = Bompton.
Simple question deserves a simple answer. ^^

No, but really dude, there’s something about this that’s really visceral to me. Maybe because it feels just-off-the-street, underproduced, underfiltered. I can also relate to the place (which is HUGE in Post-Postmodern Globalism) because I, too, have been on Rosecrans Ave.

YG

But the only thing I can think of for why it would be called Bompton is because it sounds like bomb, and if you’re going for something injurious, why not go with something explosive.

The funny thing is though, he really likes the pistol-AK imagery, he uses the gunshot sounds, he likes the idea of being on the block, but he doesn’t mention explosives really. Maybe he’s projecting–he’s the explosive, because he’s about to blow up. Ha.

I think this is the first week where you’ll really have to help me out here. What am I missing??

From Sky: Week Fourteen Response

I had been meaning to listen to this for a real long time. Thanks for making it your pick! I think what interested me in this track initially was Joey Bada$$’s “’95 to Infinity” off his Summer Knights tape that came out last year. Freddie Gibbs even went over the original Souls of Mischief beat was his version. So this track is quite the thing to reference in hip hop.

I saw Opio live once. He came to my university with Mistah FAB and Eligh. Was pretty dope. And you know how I love Del and Hieroglyphics.

I find it interesting that making a track like “’93 to Infinity” is much like constructing a time capsule. Opio, A-Plus, Tajai and Phesto are pretty much rapping out what life was like in 1993, which, when the track was recorded, would of just been them rapping about their daily lives. Opio’s first verse is a very well executed example of this:

“Dial the seven digits, call up Bridgette
Her man’s a midget; plus she got friends, yo,
I can dig it Here’s a forty, swig it, y’know it’s frigid
I got ’em chillin in the cooler, break out the ruler
Damn! That’s the fattest stog’ I ever seen
The weather’s heat in Cali; gettin weeded makes it feel like Maui
Now we feel the good vibrations
So many females, so much inspiration”

Not only are spitting about common, daily interactions and acts, they are also illustrating their inspirations. What makes their rap. What feeds their writing.

Souls of Mischief

Another example of this is Tajai’s last verse:

“Restin at the mall, attendance on ‘noid
But I am shoppin for my wish to exploit
Some cute fits, some new kicks
I often do this cause it’s the pits not bein dipped”

It’s really just time expressing what their lives are like. Now, the infinity part of this comes from the fact that they (Souls of Mischief) are going to continue living like they’re living. They’re gonna keep on doin’ their do. It’s cool because “’93 to Infinity” doesn’t really come off as dated to me. Of course the production is 90s style, but the lyrics don’t seem dated.

An interesting thing happens when an artist, or group of artists decided to call out a specific time. As I said before, it creates a type of time capsule. Now, just because it doesn’t sound dated doesn’t mean it isn’t achieving it’s purpose. The only thing that may make this track feel dated is in fact the title and the attitude of doing it like they were in 1993 until the end of time. Now, some artists have taken this concept and tweaked it. As I mentioned before, Joey Bada$$ has “’95 to Infinity” which shouts out the year he was born. In that track he’s saying that he’s going to continue doing what he’s been doing since birth. Yung Lean took this idea and made it absurd with his Unknown Death 2002 album. “It started out as an anti-movement. A couple of years ago a bunch of young rappers came up, like Joey Bada$$, a bunch of those guys. They were all repping the 1990s,” said Lean in an interview with Noisey, “They were really into boombap and Souls of Mischief and stuff and we were like, this sucks, we want stuff to happen. We started saying 2002 and 2003 because those years look good if you write them down. They’re aesthetically pleasing. I guess there’s not that much to it really.”

I guess it’s just interesting how one can look at this approach to time. I mean, is it just me or is it weird now when you hear tracks where rappers shouted out 2009 in their tracks? Nothing makes that track sound more dated than that. The opposite is true with Souls of Mischief though, being that it doesn’t come off as date. Maybe that is why the track has endured and has become an essential hip hop track.

From Sky: Week Fourteen – Bad Kid, m.A.A.d City Week

According to my last.fm page, this is my most listened to artist this week. I absolutely love this album. Downloaded it mostly on a whim, and damn I am glad I did. This is off of his newest album, My Krazy Life.

This week is simple, of course I wanna know what you can make of this track, but my question is fairly simple: Why “Bompton”?

-S

Feature – MF DOOM Discussion Week Six: A Look at Madvillian’s “Madvilliany”

Ten years ago today Madvillainy was released.

Madvilliany

I’ll admit it, I’ve been putting off writing about Madvillainy for some while now. It’s not that I didn’t have anything to write about, the opposite actually, it’s just hard to approach a classic sometimes with something new and innovated. I tried to think about DOOM, and what makes Madvillainy a classic. Was DOOM doing anything really new and innovated? Well, not really.

Six months prior to Madvillainy DOOM had released Vaudeville Villain under the moniker Viktor Vaughn. On Vaudeville Villain, DOOM had transformed from King Geedorah, the three headed space monster here to destroy earth from the pervious record, to the time traveling Viktor Vaughn. In my previous DOOM Discussions I talked about how DOOM’s villainous persona wasn’t as “villainous” as one would assume a villain’s to be. With Vaudeville Villain, DOOM for the first time, was truly villainous. The Viktor Vaughn pseudonym is easily the most angry and vile of DOOM’s villainous alter-egos. So where would DOOM go from here?

DOOM

On Take Me To Your Leader, DOOM composed and produced every track on the album, under the name Metal Fingered Villain. Vaudeville Villain, on the other hand, features no production by DOOM. With the legendary Madlib, coming off the release of Champion Sound, a collaborative album with other legendary producer J Dilla, producing Madvillainy, wasn’t anything new, per se, for DOOM. Although the two had never worked together, DOOM wasn’t completely venturing into unknown territory with having producers outside Monsta Island Czars.

When it comes to DOOM’s lyrics, again, Madvillainy isn’t anything new when it comes to the evolution of DOOM’s style and sound. With shorter tracks, DOOM often spits one verse per. Maybe one of DOOM’s more appealing qualities is his complex and abstract lyrics. Tracks like “Accordion”, “Figaro” and “Great Day Today” require multiple listens in order to fully grasp the completeness of DOOM’s message with all tracks being under two and a half minutes in length. This is why DOOM is so appealing. Like a good movie, with multiple screenings the viewer with pick up on things they missed on pervious viewings. Films like Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York; Terry Gilliam’s Brazil or David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive truly embody this idea. These films, much like DOOM’s albums, especially Madvillainy require multiple revisitings.

So DOOM is good, great in fact, but it’s nothing too different from Viktor Vaughn’s album or Operation: Doomsday in terms of lyrical style and quality. So what makes Madvillainy a classic? Well that would be Madlib.

Madlib

The pairing of the two is immaculate. DOOM’s often monotone sounding rhymes, mixed with Madlib’s unique samples and production is the perfect match. Madlib brings out the complexity in DOOM with his beats and samples that don’t overpower or detract from DOOM’s lyrics. Tracks like “Curls” and “Money Folder” really illustrate this beautifully. Not to mention the three instrumental tracks on the album–all a showcase of truly how great Madlib is. In a way, the instrumental tracks remind the listener that this combination of producer and MC is mutualistic. It’s like on the TV show Community, when character Troy Barnes is introduced into a room that is the room temperature room, “I can’t tell where the air ends and my skin begins”. This is what it’s like listening to Madvillain.

Madvillainy has been on hundreds of best-of lists. It was the number one hip hop album of the decade on Rhapsody’s list and 25th on Pitchfork’s best albums of the 2000s list, but much like a religious experience, what makes Madvillainy so special is one’s own personal relationship with the album. It’s this connection with DOOM’s lyrics, Madlib’s “thick, woozy slabs of beatnik bass”, according to Spin, and fact that despite being a classic, it’s still an underground album that places it so close to our heats. Madvillainy will probably be known as the DOOM album, as well as the Madlib album. The two are just simply perfect together.

Madlib and DOOM