Don’t get too excited, Morbo, I’m talking about MF Doom. (What? No Futurama fans? pssh.)
MF Doom is the shit. I personally have been on a bit of a Doom break, (after a two-year doom extravaganza) but he was my main inspiration for buying a drum machine and turntables when I was 16, and subsequently dedicating the following 6 years to beats and electronic music.
What initially struck me was his looseness. I would laugh aloud at his almost ridiculous drum patterns, sounding like they were played by a young child but still so perfectly gangster. There was distortion and record scratch everywhere, weird drop outs, and vocal samples that, by all conventional musical standards, did not work at all. But his freedom was inspiring. He didn’t give a fuck!
MF Doom was not the first fellow to make nasty lo-fi beats. Sampling hardware had been around in various forms as early at 1969 (EMS Musys), but it wasn’t until the (relatively) affordable E-mu SP-1200 was released in 1987 that hip-hop musicians were able to take their own snippets of drums and other instruments for use in their backing tracks. They recorded low quality record sounds into low quality sampling machines, recording them to low quality tape or back to vinyl, and ended up with a beautifully nasty end product.
Barely youtube’s fault, the original sounds that raw. His use of samples, though not always very creative and usually very illegal, is endlessly inspiring. As far as the law is concerned, he’s stealing music and calling it his own, but Doom has brought countless badass 70s and 80s tracks to the ears of hipsters and rapheads everywhere.
Not trying to call anyone out 😉 just making a point. This track is sick, and I never would have heard it if Doom didn’t sample and rap on it.
So, while Doom didn’t directly contribute to rhythmic evolution the way that some others have, he opened up a whole generation to messed up, sample-based hip hop music. The sonic walls that he helped to tear down paved the way for kids who didn’t know any better(!) to start exploring the grittier side of music. Armed with their laptops, they did their best to sound like their heros, MF Doom included, and the wicked space child that is contemporary electronic hip hop began to take shape.
Discovery is born from the pursuit to imitate.
Perhaps, garage next week?