Friday Nite Spotlight: Danger Doom – The Mouse and the Mask


I don’t own a television, so I just usually pick up a few shows on my laptop. But in order to make up for my TV pop culture gap, I love to spin records at home that have characters and skits in them. As long as they’re clever and funny. Like the Ocean’s Eleven soundtrack, Handsome Boy Modeling School’s White People and this album The Mouse and the Mask by Danger Doom. Danger Doom is a collaboration between MF Doom and Dangermouse.

Even though I’ve only seen glimpses of the cartoon characters from Adult Swim (late at night on friends’ TV sets) whose voices are on this album, it never mattered that I didn’t know the shows. Since it came out in 2005, it’s been a favorite record, with cruisin loops, TV theme song clips, flowing poems and these cynical, inflated cartoon characters getting all dramatic.

MF Doom is one of my favorite rappers. His grainy, warm, bassy syllables are packed with intelligence and humor, but his delivery is completely dry. When paired with samples, riffs and beats from the adventurous DJ/producer Danger Mouse, it makes for an audio movie like no other.

Until this year, and the release of his album Born Like This, Doom performed usually in a mask.

So who is this masked man?? Daniel Dumile was born in the UK and raised in New York on Long Island. His mom was from Trinidad and his dad from Zimbabwe. Maybe this foreign foundation has something to do with Doom’s unique pop culture awareness. His rhymes bring in childhood cartoons, politics, food, advertising and twists of fate.

His original band was KMD, which he formed with his younger brother DJ Subroc in the early 90’s. They put out 2 albums but their second release,1993’s Black Bastards, – was cancelled and Elektra records dropped the group — supposedly because of a “controversial” record cover. (You can find it online, it is arguably horrible.) Right around this time, Doom’s brother Subroc was hit and killed by a car. Doom took a break from music for a few years after that. Moved to Alanta. There he started wearing stockings (on his head), then masks when he rapped at open mics.

“Black Bastards” was eventually released in 2001. And Doom has since released many solo and joint project records under various names. He’s called: Victor Vaughn, Villain, MF Doom and MM…Food. Now in 2009, he is known as simply “Doom” and here’s a peek at his brand new record.

Join DJ Michele Myers Fridays at 9pm for Nite Life on KEXP. Every Friday at midnight she does this album spotlight, telling a story and playing 3 songs from the record. Michele also produces KEXP Documentaries and hosts Wake Up Thursdays from 6-9am for KEXP in NYC on Radio New York 91.5FM.

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