Tag Archives: DJ Subroc

Operation Doom Discography: Operation Doomsday

Operation Doom Discography: Operation Doomsday

by Dan-O

Operation Doomsday will last because it is one of those instances where an album saved the form as well as the person who made it. The promise of K.M.D. ended with the death of Zev Love X’s brother and group member DJ Subroc who was killed by a car getting across the Long Island Expressway. Zev Love X was crushed and took years off, dealing with depression addiction issues and homelessnes. He came back years later completely obscured by a persona that perfectly fit him. Dr. Doom is the scarred genius of the Marvel universe he is acknowledged by all creators as smarter than Tony Stark or Reed Richards but his pain feeds his anger and his reputation. Doom as a persona gave him the ability to slide into anger and sadness without having to clear a whole track or album for it.

In 1999 we were used to the confessional conscious rap album we were used to the hardcore NY goon rap album and the glossy Bad Boy shiny suit event music. Doom didn’t want to do any of that. He wanted to stretch his legs and be nerdy. Hey! Is a beat made out of the Scooby Doo Theme song and he does Shaggy’s zoiks in his verse. On Greenbacks he lets all references fly “What a fella! Like Salt, Pepa, Spinderella/I came to spark the deaf, dumb and blind like Helen Keller/If I’m not with George of the Jungle, if he not with Stella/Or either Priscilla, I’m doing dips on Godzilla.” On Go With The Flow he says one of the nerdiest things in the history of rap “That’s quick to whip up a script like Rod Serling.” 100% of Rod Serling references are about him hosting Twilight Zone not his PEN GAME(which was impressive if you check IMDB). Beyond nerding out he just loves rapping, the one liners are efficient concise and packed to unpack. Rhymes Like Dimes is the best example of this. These are some of my favorite one-liners from just this one short song.

  • “keep a pen like a fiend keep a pipe with him.”
  • “Classic slapstick rappers need chapstick”
  • “Only in America could you find a way to earn a healthy buck and still keep your attitude on self-destruct.”

Doom produces every song and Rhymes Like Dimes is a warm and lovely Stevie Wonder sample where he erupts all over the song and lets NY legendary hip hop DJ Bobbito talk crazy at the end and yell “MASHED POTATOES!” It is genuinely fun to listen at him push his talent to without any regard for whether we are catching all of it or tracking all the meanings. Doom lets us listen to him do whatever he wants. He doesn’t just feel as broken as Dr. Doom or as angry he also demands that level of control over his surroundings. Every track is a room in his Latverian lair.

The production is like the dark side of J Dilla. Both take soul samples and mutate them, Dilla made them even more handsome than they were originally while Doom makes them squeak screech and twist until they sound like how he feels (example:Dead Bent) .

When Doom does give you a window into the hole in his heart it is truly profound. The chorus on the title track “On Doomsday! /Ever since the womb til I’m back where my brother went/That’s what my tomb will say/Right above my government: Dumile/Either unmarked or engraved, hey, who’s to say? ” The earnest moments are in a sloppy mountain of pulsing incisive observations, wild jokes, and old tv shows and that feels more real than a lot of the “I love my Mom” rap songs from the 90’s did.

Doom’s last verse on ? absolutely haunts me especially the last line which rolls around in my head all the time.

“By candlelight my hand will write these rhymes ’til I’m burnt out

Mostly from experience, shit that I learned about

Topics and views, generally concerned about

With different ways to come up and earn clout

I take a look at my life and pace the trails

From Tablik and savage females with fake nails to face veils

You out your frame but still bagging ’em too

You know I know, these hoes be asking me if I’m you

Like my twin brother, we did everything together

From hundred raka’at salats to copping butter leathers

Remember when you went and got the dark blue Ballys

I had all the different color Cazals and Gazelles

The “SUBROC” three-finger ring with the ruby in the “O”, ock

Truly the illest dynamic duo on the whole block

I keep a flick of you with the machete sword in your hand

Everything is going according to plan man”

Its deeply genuine but doesn’t need to be. I was blown back by The Finest where he says “MF like Mike Frank Corleone” explaining to my wife how deeply nerdy it is to refer to the middle name of a fictional character. In all the world of Godfather references in hip hop verses I’d never heard Michael’s middle name. I didn’t even know at that time that the M.F. in M.F. Doom Stands for Michael Francis and that reference, the depth of the reference defines his very character.  Recently his fourteen year old son Malachi Ezekiel Dumile passed and it’s hard to hear. Someone who changed hip hop broke the format of thoughtful v. Gangsta into shards by taking his tragedy and articulating it his way is still being beaten back it. Wherever he is I hope he never loses sight of how important his perseverance is to all of us.


Operation Doom Discography- KMD years


Operation Doom Discography- KMD years

by Dan-O

I love love love albums.  People make fun of me for it. I don’t even listen to singles. Nothing is more fun for me than finding a conundrum of a discography and tackling it album by album. I went from heavy rock to cheesy 80s to Highlander soundtrack with Queen. I went from Shout to Motown to funk gods to R. Kelly era with The Isley Brothers  (and stuck the landing with that fabulous Santana collaboration).  This time around I’m going full MF Doom. Here is my report so far.

1991- KMD-Mr. Hood

KMD is a group made up of Zev Love X (Doom) and DJ Subroc(his brother). The third member Rodan left before they signed. He was replaced by Onyx The Birthstone. The story behind their first album is they found a language learning record and cut it into pieces using samples of it to create the character of Mr. Hood. Listening to 1991 hip hop can be jarring because it doesn’t resemble the listening experience of today. The chorus is an afterthought the verses are vibrant and kinetic. As a producer Doom cuts and pastes together a powerful character in Mr. Hood who interacts with each member of the group questioning, insulting, as a community outsider helping to illustrate the natural tension between them and us. Mr. Hood is steeped in 5 Percent Nation Islamic teaching best exemplified by the collaboration with Brand Nubian (Nitty Gritty).  I wouldn’t go so far as to call Mr. Hood a classic but definitely a mandatory listen for anyone tracking the evolution of Doom or hip hop in general.

1993-KMD-Black Bastards

The improvement is really something to enjoy. Taking all the lessons learned on crafting themes from samples they gathered on Mr. Hood, Black Bastards is so much better.  The production is boom bap as previous but you can hear Doom start to twist and mutate the simplicity of these beats jagged. The title track has an odd sample bouncing in rhythm with the bassline as Doom hurls racial and relationship frustrations at every line with heartless efficiency. Gimme is sharp stabbing and ugly until it hypnotizes you into its control; classic Metal Fingers(Doom’s production name).  Black Bastards stays on theme without ever becoming a chore and that is because no second is wasted. No guest verse flops no moment is taken too seriously or not serious enough.

The most surprising thing about analyzing the KMD years is that both of these albums are front to back listenable. Thirty two tracks between two albums and not one I felt like I wanted to skip and trust me when I say the 90’s was a great time for rap music but had a lot of useless filler in it.  Before pressing play on the first Doom solo album I was already pretty impressed.