(After cold calls and much thumb twiddling, I spoke to DOOM, a huge favorite who’s one of the most fascinating emcee/producers ever, and whose latest at the time of this writing, BORN LIKE THIS, is a loud exclamation point on a career that has shown tremendous artistic growth from KMD ’til now. His longevity, shape-shifting career, and lack of public exposure, all make for a rare breed of performer— the kind that shuns attention. Dude’s notoriously hard to get a hold of so here’s my long-awaited and rather extensive talk with the usually low-key Daniel Dumile. -DM)
KMD, Know Mr. Dumile:
DOOM explains BORN LIKE THIS, talks own history, and draws line between himself and written characters
Daniel Dumile’s gift is the ability to be totally engrossed in and devoted to whatever his character does. He flouts criticism –even from his own fans– and has been doing so for a while, since the ’80s. This is how he teeters between mainstream success and inde-rap stardom. BORN LIKE THIS, is more of the same, with guests (Slug of Atmosphere and Raekwon, for example) that reflect his presence across rap spectrums. Production-wise, Dilla, Madlib, and Jake One have a song each while DOOM manned the rest. But without a doubt this is all Daniel Dumile, or DOOM rather, and certainly a standout from his cache of celebrated work. Here we find is DOOM at his most strange, most gruff, weird, and somewhat confessional.
As a rapper, as an interview subject, he’s been notoriously elusive, often silent come promotion time. Antics aside, he remains a totally uncompromising artist, standing tall on rap’s list of all-time consistent emcee/producers. As unapproachable as he’s been with journalists, the guy behind the persona is anything but. He starts our long-scheduled interview with: “Sorry it took this long man! Not trying to discriminate! How are you doing today? What’s your name man?” Hardly a mean guy, definitely a normal dude, Dumile details with candor and insight to all my questions on all things DOOM.
Let’s start with the mask. Why wear one?
It’s really just another character. Zev Love X was a character too, most people think that’s me but he wasn’t. They’ve all been characters. The DOOM thing is to be able to come at things with a different point of view. I decided the mask would just add to the mystique of the character as well as make DOOM stand out. I though it’d be an easy way for people to see and differentiate between characters, sorta like when an actor gains weight for a role. Throwing on the mask was just a good way to switch it up. King Geedorah and Vik are characters too for example.