Operation Doom Discography- KMD years
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.
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.