Madvillain was a collaboration between
New York-based rapper Daniel "MF Doom" Dumile (former member of comical
hip-hop posse KMD),
and Los Angeles-based producer Otis "Madlib" Jackson (the son of a bluesman
and a folksinger, and the nephew of jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis), who had
already experimented with the collage technique
as the one-man band Yesterday's New Quintet (fictitiously described as
a "quintet") on Angels Without Edges (Stones Throw, 2001), building
songs (mostly smooth soul-jazz-funk instrumental ballads) out of microscopic fragments of keyboards, guitar, sax, vibraphone, drums and bass (not samples, but his own creations).
Their collaboration yielded one of the most publicized albums in the history of
Madvillainy (Stones Throw, 2004),
and its companion Madvillainy Instrumentals (2004).
While every magazine bragged about it, very few reviews could explain
what the excitement was all about. Madlib's sophisticated beat-art and
orchestration made it an impressive tour de force of production techniques,
but it was a far cry from the purported masterpiece of hip-hop.
Fragmented into 22 brief vignettes,
it was both a stylistic phantasmagoria and a cartoonish concept album.
Two tracks, Rhinestone Cowboy and Strange Ways, were entirely designed and implemented using the tiny sampler SP-303 (introduced by Roland in 1998).
Madlib's solo career, mostly obsessed with the legacy of jazz, had been fairly intense, comprising:
Lootpack's Soundpieces: Da Antidote (1999), a celebration of classic hip-hop music ruined by the rappers, and its companion Soundpieces: Da Instrumentals (1999),
Quasimoto's The Unseen (2000), possibly his artistic zenith,
on which he raps himself in a high-pitched voice over his most psychedelic soundscape,
and its companion The Unseen Instrumentals (2000),
Yesterdays New Quintet's Angles Without Edges (2001), a close second,
the disappointing Jaylib's Champion Sound (2003),
a collaboration with J Dilla (half of the songs produced by Madlib and sung by J Dilla and the other half produced by J Dilla and sung by Madlib),
and its companion Champion Sound Instrumentals (2003),
reissed as the double-CD Champion Sound Reissue (Stones Throw, 2007),
Sound Directions' The Funky Side Of Life (Stones Throw, 2005), a
live band devoted to early 1970s funk and soul covers,
and Madlib's personal revision of the Blue Note catalog, Shades of Blue (2003).
As DJ Rels, he also released an album of house music,
Theme for a Broken Soul (2004).
Quasimoto was resurrected for The Further Adventures of Lord Quas (Stones Throw, 2005), another demented collage of genres and another cartoonish saga.
London-born hoarse rapper Daniel Dumile started out as Zev Love, the mastermind of
KMD, whose Mr Hood (1991) and Bl_ck B_st_rds (1993),
released only in 2000, were militant Islamic pamphlets.
After a long hiatus, Dumile released two albums as
MF Doom, impersonating a Marvel Comics-influenced rambling supervillain,
Operation Doomsday (1999), produced by himself mostly sampling cartoons,
and the mediocre, even more cartoonish Mm Food (2004); one as
King Geedorah, Take Me to Your Leader (2003),
a hilarious sample-heavy tribute to horror sci-fi movies;
and two as Viktor Vaughan,
Vaudeville Villain (2003),
drenched in a dark, ominous atmosphere of glitchy electronic soundscapes
with perhaps his best beats and productions;
and Venomous Villain (2004), that instead feels like a collection of leftovers.
The rapping being mostly nonsensical, it was the production that elevated his
best moments over the agerage hip-hop music of the time.
MF Doom lent his rapping skills to Dangerdoom's The Mouse And The Mask (2005), a collaboration with producer Danger Mouse resulting in classy fun party music but hardly revolutionary.
Madlib's The Beat Konducta Vol. 1-2 (Stones Throw, 2006) contains 35 hip-hop instrumental audio collages crafted with turntables, samplers and drum machines. Beat Konducta Vol. 3-4 (Stones Throw, 2007) targeted
Bollywood film music.
Liberation (2007) was a collaboration between Madlib and Talib Kweli.
Jackson Conti's Sujinho (2008) was a collaboration with Azymuth's drummer Ivan Conti.
Madlib's King Of The Wigflip (Rapster, 2008) is a collage of
samples (both ordinary found sounds and snippets of music).
Madlib also produced Percee P's debut Perseverance (2007),
Strong Arm Steady's second album In Search of Stoney Jackson (2010),
Guilty Simpson's second album O.J. Simpson (2010), and
Georgia Anne Muldrow's Seeds (2012).
Daniel Dumile dropped MF from his "nome de guerre" for Born Like This (2009), a faithful but uninspired recreation of his sound (better as a rapper than as a producer).
Unexpected Guests (2009) is a compilation of Doom rarities.
Madlib and J-Rocc released
Beat Konducta Vol. 5-6: Dil Cosby / Dil Withers Suite (Stones Throw, 2009), a tribute album to the late J Dilla.
Speto Da Rua: Dirty Brasilian Crates Vol. 1 (Mochilla, 2009) is a mix
of Brazilian music.
Madlib also composed the soundtrack for the documentary on A Tribe Called Quest, Beats, Rhymes & Life (2011).
Madlib Medicine Show was a series of monthly mixtapes that started in 2009.
Jneiro Jarel produced and probably architected
Daniel "MF Doom" Dumile's
Key To The Kuffs (Lex, 2012), appropriately credited to
JJ Doom. The negligible cameos of
Damon Albarn (Blur/Gorillaz) and Beth Gibbons (Portishead) helped publicize
the album but the only interest lies in Jarel's demented collages.
A collaboration between Madlib and Indiana's gangster rapper
Freddie Gibbs yielded
Thuggin' (2011), Shame (2012) and Deeper (2013).
These were followed by the (much hyped) full-length
Pinata (Madlib Invazion, 2014).
sprinkled production barely mattered, and the duo had to engage
a plethora of guests (Ab-Soul, BJ the Chicago Kid, Danny Brown, Domo Genesis,
Mac Miller, Raekwon, Scarface, Earl Sweatshirt) to lift Gibbs' storytelling
Five years later the collaboration was repeated on
Bandana (2019), credited to MadGibbs.
Meanwhile, Madlib concocted the much more experimental instruments of Rock Konducta Part One (2013) and resurrected
Quasimoto for a compilation of rarities and outtakes that make for an album of conventional hip-hop, Yessir Whatever (2013).
Other Madlib collaborations included:
Trouble Knows Me (2015) with Hemlock Ernst,
Bad Neighbor (2015) with rappers MED and Blu,
and The Professionals (2020) with Oh No.
MF Doom collaborated with Wu-Tang Clan's Inspectah Deck and Esoteric on Czarface Meets Metal Face (2018), the only substantial release by Doom in a decade.
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