A catalogue of character aliases
MF DOOM - Live at The Roundhouse, London

“Hip Hop has gone in a direction where it’s almost damn near 100 per cent on everything besides the music,” MF Doom, aka Daniel Dumile, lamented in an interview with Groove Guide. “Like what you look like to the sound of your name to whatever intoxicants you choose to put in your body. Everything except for what the music sounds like. So the mask is a testament to say it’s not about none of that.”

Hip hop has always been about selling out, making money and preserving your image on MTV Cribs. It’s a tawdry way to view the genre’s artistic integrity, but it is what it is. But for the London-born, New York-raised MC/producer, Doom has been more concerned with his music’s persona and the legacy that will live strong from it.

As a result, there is something quite comical about his show with Ghostface Killah as part of Lex Records’ tenth anniversary showcase at the Roundhouse. In a shimming cape-cum-boiler suit and coruscating mask, he lopes around the stage with Killah in toe, spitting out something of a best of set from his catalogue of character aliases (Madvillain, Doom, King Geedorah, Dangerdoom) from a near twenty-year career.

Opening with a barrage of twisted verses, ‘Accordian’, ‘All Caps’ and ‘Curls’ envelop the crowd. The majority white crowd visually crumbling with existential crisis of their inherited colour and creed, bounce against the tracks’ sedate beats and repeat their last lines to punctuate their significance of being.

But as Doom works the crowd, he turns up the heat with ‘Figaro’, ‘America’s Most Blunted’ and ‘One Beer’. A cosy, hedonistic fug of dope invades the room from deep within the pit – a smoke signal of celebration and emancipation if there ever was one.

What he lacks with the presence of a live DJ, he makes up for in a solid, vintage performance. And finishing up with ‘Benzi Box’ and ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ help seal his boxset of classic hits for this special birthday bash.

Words by Fil Edit
Photo by Matt Wash

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