JJ Doom: Key to the Kuffs

After Stones Throw releases the 10th iteration of DOOM’s (formerly MF Doom) classic collabo with Madlib Madvillainy, he’s treading dangerously on the precipice of falling into the same trap as other former alt-hip hop legends; utter banality. It didn’t help that DOOM is frequently accused of sending impostors to perform under his name because he is too busy living off the infinite royalties he’s getting from Madvillainy. It turns out what the mad villain of hip hop needed was what he had during the Madvillainy and Danger Doom years, a singular producer as a collaborator.

Jneiro Jarel, the JJ to JJ DOOM, is something of an electronic wunderkind whose glitchy sound is more Brainfeeder than what DOOM is accustomed too, providing a much needed challenge to a rapper who has gone far too complacent. While Jneiro tones down his beat scene EDM production a notch or two for DOOM, there’s still enough non-boom bap quirks to it to get Doom to sacrifice his deadpan approach to rap for some variety in his flow, finally. Yet this can be detrimental to his appeal, on ‘Banished’ he struggles to keep up with the beat in a futile attempt to double-time his verse.

Thankfully the failures are kept to a bare minimum. Single ‘Guv’nor’ is DOOM at his faulty best; mispronounced words, almost after take-sounding verse, and general off-kilter weirdness. And that’s ultimately the album’s best quality, DOOM is still quotable! On the aforementioned track alone you might have mistaken what sounded like gibberish as his failing to pronounce a word, but it is actually a reference to a volcano eruption (“Ash and molten glass like Eyjafjallajökull”).

His incredibly bizarre vocabulary litters every song with vigour like this was still his origin story; JJ DOOM is in a way a much needed reboot.

LISTEN TO: ‘Guv’nor’, ‘GMO’, ‘Rhymin’ Slang’
IF YOU LIKE THIS YOU’LL DIG: Madvillain, Danger Doom, KMD