Key to the Kuffs
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 00:09
The metal-clad rapper DOOM—formerly MF Doom—returns to jolly old England for his latest LP, Key To The Kuffs, but even a bout of Anglophilia doesn’t shake this perpetual antagonist from his old habits.
Though DOOM’s style has always been steeped in the Boom-Bap production that was created in his hometown of Long Island, DOOM himself was born in London, where he recorded most of Kuffs while stuck there with an invalid visa.
Backed up by rising producer Jneiro Janel, DOOM spits rhymes name-checking UK landmarks and pop culture, and even his trademark dialogue samples have that BBC America flavor.
Since 2009’s Born Like This, the supervillain’s stock in trade has been exploiting the dissonance between off-kilter, heavy beats and slurry, atonal lyrics. But even while pontificating on Frankenfood—“GMO”—or geographic isolation—”Banished”— he’s as tight and engrossing as ever. Janel makes an excellent partner-in-crime, contributing two transcendent instrumentals in addition to his spooky backing tracks.
Even Gossip’s Beth Gibbons and Gorillaz’s Damon Albarn make spectral but much-appreciated cameos, leaving the spotlight to a masked man who’s been revealing more and more of himself with each album. Key To The Kuffs shows DOOM is getting older, but still ready to snatch the game from under the young whippersnappers.
As the world waits for DOOM and Ghostface Killah to release their collaboration, even out-of-nowhere surprises like JJ DOOM can stand tall with his better-remembered efforts. It seems the villain still has us in his metal grip.