Over the course of his 30-year career, the late MF DOOM had numerous collaborators, many of whom remain just as mysterious as the masked man himself. One, however, was likely the most prominent — and a big part of the reason DOOM was so beloved fans outside of the New York underground hip-hop scene he inhabited.
When DOOM and LA producer Madlib teamed up for the 2004 collaborative album Madvillainy, they had no idea the impact it would ultimately have on the pop culture landscape. But as Adult Swim-viewing cartoon fans discovered the producer and the rapper from the programming block’s commercial break bumps and the internet made sharing music as easy as downloading the latest single from Limewire, Madlib and MF DOOM became close to being household names — at least among households that really loved obscure hip-hop and stoner-centric animation.
Unfortunately, they were only able to release the one project collectively, although they had plans to release a sequel. The situation was complicated by DOOM’s immigration status, which caused him to be barred from re-entering the US after an international tour in 2010 because he was never naturalized as a citizen, despite moving to New York from London with his parents as a young child, similarly to what happened with 21 Savage.
Madlib recently spoke about his collaborator’s death with NPR, saying he found out about DOOM’s passing “when everybody else did, on social media.” DOOM passed on Halloween last year, but his wife/manager Jasmine didn’t reveal that he’d died until New Year’s Eve. Madlib, who said that the two checked in on each other from time-to-time, doesn’t have any hard feelings, though. “His family’s very private, so they probably didn’t know how to approach that one,” he said.
“I still can’t believe that he died. That’s weird.”