Vinyl Vlog 356

Vinyl Vlog 356

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Wednesday, 21 November 2018
COLUMN

Keys to the Kuffs
JJ DOOM

Pity the state of mainstream hip hop. Seriously, pity it. I’ve completely tuned out and shun it. It’s one of those weird situations where I don’t listen to it, but I just know it sucks. I was in an Uber the other day and speaking to the driver, who was a rap fan and had insights into the process. I could pinpoint what I disliked about it, and he had names for these different elements. He assured me it’s all pretty terrible. Every time a rapper starts a feud or clothing line selling $500 shirts, the artform dies a little.

Then there’s MF Doom, who’s so good, it’s almost like he’s a different genre altogether. The man is elusive, only putting out albums sporadically, and focusing more on collaboration albums. It’s frustrating when you’re chomping at the bits for a new release, but then again, maybe Doom is interested in giving props where it’s due. Instead of applying the think tank approach to making albums, herding a team of writers and producers to do it for them, then calling it *their* album, Doom wants to make it clear that this is a group effort. We covered the vital Mm FOOD release on a previous Vinyl Vlog, and now we want to focus on one of these collaboration albums.

Let me paint the picture for JJ DOOM. DOOM was born in London England, but is American. Once upon one time, he was stuck in England after having immigration issues. So, in exile, the man teamed up with Jneiro Jarel to make an album that sounds, in all honesty, quite English. Of course, appearances by Damon Albarn and Portishead’s Beth Gibbons will do that to an album. Immediately the contrast to Mm FOOD can be heard. There’s no playing around on Keys to the Kuffs, as these tracks are almost solely driven by the beat which even sound erratic at times. While DOOM’s other music sounds colorful and downright humorous, this album has a gloomy and serious feel to it. Dessert time is over, it’s time for a smoke.

So with that Keys to the Kuffs is harder to absorb, but is still unendingly interesting. The album almost slithers by with its twist and turns, and rumor has it, that the more you come back to it, the better it ages. Of course, Vinyl Me Please has brought the definite release of this album, on cyan double LP, with a cover as weird as the music itself.

MF DOOM is so underappreciated that I’m starting to believe he’s a rapper’s rapper. Luckily, Vinyl Me Please knows its business and makes the man’s important catalog available to the masses. Now more than ever.

Get it at Vinyl Me Please

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