Music / news

A look back on Madvillainy

I was in middle school when this album released (March 23, 2004). I had been introduced to hip hop through the speakers of my mother’s station wagon and father’s four-door Dodge Intrepid. Sure, the hip hop I was listening to was a bunch of radio hits, but no matter because it opened up my curiosity  — what else is out there?

Inside of the gym at my middle school, my buddy leans over to me.

“What are you listening to?”

“Lil Wayne,” I replied.

“Did you hear this song?”

He played “Rhinestone Cowboy,” but I didn’t know it at the time. The song was untitled because, years ago, us kids had other means of downloading songs and we didn’t bother labeling  tracks.

Fast forward three years. I’m a ninth grader in yet another physical education course.

I owned an iPod Classic with the newest capability to play videos, but I cared more for the insane amount of gigabytes it held.

Scrolling counter- and clockwise, I went through thousands of songs and hundreds of albums. I, too, owned an unnecessary amount of music, but I landed on one song — “Rhinestone Cowboy.”

It was this album that introduced me to another side of hip hop. With “Madvillainy,” there’s plenty of catchy MF Doom rhymes and Madlib boom-bap beats. I had never sat and digested boom-bap beats before — it’s now one of my favorite styles.

This album helped open up my ears to A Tribe Called Quest due to their similar beats, fun rhymes and smooth flows, among many other things.

But writing about the MF Doom and Madlib duo saddens me. Doom hasn’t made a follow-up album to “Madvillainy,” nor has he made a solo album since 2009 (Born Like This). The British MC is a gift to hip hop fans, so it’s almost as if we’re deprived of food without Doom.

There was a collaboration album with rapper Bishop Nehru (NehruvianDoom), but it fell flat to most ears.

Madlib produced Kanye West’s “No More Parties in L.A.” on “The Life of Pablo,” so at least we’ve heard from the legendary producer.

Ghostface Killah of Wu Tang Clan fame said he and Doom completed an album to be released in February 2015. Yet here we are.

Although, I can’t be too mad.

“Madvillainy” opened my mind to so much more than Doom and Madlib — it’s responsible for giving me an ear for some of the most creative hip hop elements in the game today.

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