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DOOM, born Daniel Dumile, had some success as a rapper in the early '90s under the name Zev Love X. However, the tragic loss of his brother in a car accident in 1994 caused him to retreat from the hip-hop world and sink into a deep depression. He eventually became homeless on the streets of New York; in interviews, he describes himself in this period as "recovering from his wounds" and swearing revenge "against the industry that so badly deformed him." If this sounds like a Super Villain origin story, well, the similarity didn't escape him either. When he recovered and returned to the world of hip-hop he adopted the identity of MF DOOM, an Expy of the Fantastic Four villain Doctor Doom. DOOM has consistently worn a Cool Mask since he returned to performing; it is nearly impossible to find pictures of him from after 1998 or so in which he shows his face.
DOOM's raps often play with the ideas of the Superhero and Super Villain, or use those tropes to deconstruct hip-hop culture. His lyrics are marked by a vast knowledge of popular culture, and commonly allude to Science Fiction, Fantasy, Western Animation, and Comic Book characters. In addition to the Fantastic Four mythos from which his identity is borrowed (and from where he gets a lot of hilarious samples of people complaining about "Doom") he's fond of Star Trek, commonly comparing himself to Worf. The potential for Narm in this is tempered by DOOM's lyrical skill and playfulness and support by a range of excellent producers. DOOM maintains a good degree of popularity in both underground and mainstream hip-hop circles: his 2004 album Madvillainy with producer Madlib is regarded by some as a classic.
In 2005, MF DOOM and hip-hop producer Danger Mouse collaborated as DANGERDOOM on The Mouse And The Mask, an album produced in cooperation with Adult Swim. The album featured songs explicitly about Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and Perfect Hair Forever (for which DOOM had done voice acting), and other raps on the album made reference to Inuyasha, Trigun, and Futurama. Voice actors from various Adult Swim shows made contributions, and samples from Adult Swim shows permeate throughout. It's much Better Than It Sounds, although Your Mileage May Vary.
- As MF DOOM
- Operation: Doomsday (1999)
- Mm... Food (2004)
- Live From Planet X (2005)
- Born Like This (2009)
- Unexpected Guests (2009)
- Gazzillion Ear EP (2010)
- As King Geedorah
- Take Me To Your Leader (2003)
- As Viktor Vaughn
- Vaudeville Villain (2003)
- Venomous Villian (2004)
- With Madlib
- Madvillainy (2004)
- Madvillainy 2 - The Madlib Remix (2008)
- With Danger Mouse
- The Mouse And The Mask (2005)
- Occult Hymn (2006)
- With J Dilla and Ghostface Killah
- Sniperlite EP (2008)
MF DOOM makes use of the tropes:
- Alliterative Name: Daniel Dumile, also Viktor Vaughn
- Comics Rule Everything Around Me
- Cool Mask
- Doomy Dooms of Doom
- Homage: The MF DOOM persona to Dr. Doom. Viktor Vaughn is also a Dr. Doom allusion.
- I Have Many Names: Not uncommon among rappers, but DOOM does it more than the average.
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": His real name is actually prounced Daniel "Doom-eel-ay."
- Malevolent Masked Men: Lampshaded to hell and back. Specifically, in The Mouse and the Mask's "Basket Case", where DOOM feebly defends himself by saying "Just since some people wear a mask doesn't mean that they did something."
- My Nayme Is: "And remember, ALL CAPS when you spell the man's name."
- One of Us: About the strongest example one can find outside of nerdcore.
- Shout-Out: Frequent in his songs.
- Super Villain: Screwed around with in every way possible.
- Start of Darkness: Several tracks on Operation: DOOMSDAY expound on DOOM's backstory using sound clips from the 60s Fantastic Four show.
- Talking to Himself: Madvillain's "Fancy Clown" features the persona Viktor Vaughn dissing someone for fooling around with his girl. That someone is his alter ego MF DOOM.
- Theme Naming: The titles of all the songs on his "Mm...Food?" album have some reference to food in them.
- Unreliable Narrator: Can you keep track of all the reasons he's given for wearing a mask? Because he probably can't.
- Vaporware: The long-awaited "Swift & Changeable" collaboration between DOOM and Ghostface.
- Word Salad Lyrics: A lot of his stuff just sounds cool, even though it doesn't mean anything.