MF DOOM’s Operation: Doomsday: A 15th Anniversary Retrospective
In 1998, Fondle ‘Em released another MF DOOM single “The M.I.C.”/”Red & Gold” which was distributed by Fat Beats. Heads were thirsty for an album so work began on crafting a full length project throughout 1998 and 1999. When word came that MF DOOM would be releasing a proper album, anticipation went through the roof.
This was surprising considering that the DOOM material was even more well received than the scary good music released from KMD’s Black Bastards album Elektra shelved back in 1994. It turned out that DOOM was allowed to keep his masters after KMD’s release so Bobbito released “Black Bastards Ruffs + Rares” and “It Sounded Like Roc”/Stop Smokin’ That Sh*t” which highlighted Subroc’s incredible production and growth as an MC. This made his loss all the more bittersweet and gave the audience invaluable insight as to what fueled DOOM’s absence.
On April 20th, 1999 MF DOOM’s long awaited album Operation: Doomsday finally went on sale. It was sold chiefly through niche online and physical vendors that specialized in underground and independent Hip-Hop such as Sandbox Automatic, Fat Beats, Underground Hip-Hop & HipHopSite. Nevertheless, the music made its way into the hands of MF DOOM’s rabid fans.
The album consisted of 19 tracks including five skits that tied the tracks together into a narrative using audio clips from the old 1967 Hanna Barbera Fantastic Four cartoon series plus a spoken word outro. In addition to the previously released 7 tracks there was the smooth opener “Doomsday”, the Bobbito guested “Rhymes Like Dimes” (as Cucumber Slice), “The Finest” (that flipped the SOS Band classic lovely), “Tick, Tick…” featuring MF Grimm, the Monster Island Czars posse track “Who You Think I Am?” and “?” featuring former Constipated Monkeys crew member Kurious. The way the album was sequenced perfectly blended the 12″ tracks with the new material and the end result was a classic Hip-Hop album.
MF DOOM acknowledged Illmatic in an interesting way to open his album, he also used Wild Style but instead he played the audio over music from the Fantastic Four cartoon. By drawing on the nostalgia associated with the 1967 “Fantastic Four” cartoon which was a Gen X staple as a part of “Hanna Barbera’s World Of Super Adventure” and a key part of the lineup with the Boomerang network DOOM further identified with his listening audience. This album is the one that launched his now legendary solo and a string of classic albums with memorable bars. In addition, it paved the way for DOOM to make albums under multiple aliases including his epic 10 part Special Herbs instrumental album series. It’s insane to think that even though this album is a classic it was only the tip of the iceberg in terms of showcasing the potential of DOOM as a lyricist, producer and an artist.
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