MF DOOM is known for many things, from his multiple rap personas to the gladiator-esque masks he wore in performances. He was one of the biggest figures in the underground hip hop community and, despite never going mainstream, is widely recognized as one of the genre’s greatest lyricists. Unpredictable, eccentric, and the undisputed king of independent rap, MF DOOM sadly passed in 2020.
In this article, we’ll go over 31 of the best songs MF DOOM ever released or worked on.
Doomsday was where it all started for our masked rapper, the first full track on his very first LP, and it set the stage for the MF DOOM universe as a whole. It’s got everything you could want and spans one of the widest ranges of references I’ve ever heard, from the popular to the obscure.
This is the song that birthed the DOOM we know today, detailing his exploits, villainous encounters, and disrespecting all the MCs he sees himself as better than.
2. All Caps
As legitimately great as MF DOOM is, he isn’t the most accessible artist. You have to keep up with several alter-egos and personas, all while reading into his lyrics for every nugget. All Caps isn’t just one of his best songs, it’s probably the easiest for people to start listening to.
It’s still abstract but has all the epic elements that made DOOM and Madlib collaborations amazing.
3. Rhymes Like Dimes
Rhymes Like Dimes is quintessential MF DOOM and one of the most important tracks to listen to if you ever get interested in his work. It appeared on his 1999 album Operation: Doomsday and is easily one of hip hop’s top lyrical performances. Give it a shot, and you won’t be disappointed.
Accordion comes from Madvillainy, quite easily one of DOOM’s best projects, and it was still a standout track. Like the rest of the album, it was more of an immersive experience than just a song you listen to. Plus, hearing DOOM and Madlib going nuts is something you just have to experience for yourself.
5. Beef Rap
MM…Food was an entire album built on references to food that isn’t actually food, using an anagram of MF DOOM to form the conceptual direction for the album. Beef Rap was the first song of the album, doing everything from making fun of petty rap feuds to discussing actual red meats before whittling itself down to the point of the song. It’s dissing rappers that aren’t focused on being the best and just play what sells well.
DOOM dropped two albums in 2003, one as King Geedorah and one as Viktor Vaughn. Saliva was a track from the latter that’s so layered you can listen to it a hundred times and pull a new meaning from different parts of the lyrics.
It’s got all the weird stuff that makes us love MF DOOM and was another chance to see him display his wordsmithing skills.
Look, it doesn’t take much to get me interested in a song, and it only took part of a sentence to get my attention on this one. It samples a Scooby Doo villain instrumental (mic drop). No, but this was one of the most ominous tracks on a frankly scary album, coming from DOOM’s 1999 Operation: Doomsday.
8. Take Me to Your Leader
The title track of DOOM’s King Geedorah persona album from 2003, there’s frankly not much to be said about this song. It’s just absolutely DOOM at his best and easily one of the best raps he’s ever laid down.
9. Untitled A.K.A. Change the Beat
It can’t be a surprise that someone as eccentric as MF DOOM held back one of his best verses in a song that’s basically just half thunderstorm sounds. A bonus track of the Vaudeville Villain album, Change The Beat switches up the beat for each of the rapper’s four verses that are as sharp and astounding as ever.
10. Meat Grinder
Madvillainy probably had some of MF DOOM’s most complex lyricism and deliveries and proved he could fit himself into absolutely any beat you throw him on. If you’re looking for a virtuoso rapper, look no further. Just listen to this song and tell me DOOM wasn’t one of the best ever to do it.
MF DOOM’s characters fit right in on Adult Swim, which makes it weird that the program never gave them their own show. Crosshairs originated when DOOM was brought in for an Adult Swim-funded LP that sampled several of the program’s late-night cartoons. DOOM was the album’s linchpin but wasn’t the only one brought in. That didn’t stop him from outclassing everyone else that made a guest appearance, though.
12. That’s That
MF DOOM never broke into the mainstream rap world despite his overall dominance on the mic. It didn’t really matter to him, though. He’d solidified his legacy as one of the best MCs out there and would go down as one of the most talented rappers in history.
That’s That seemed to be his acceptance of that fact, an end to the prolific run of independent works that left him satisfied rather than bitter.
DOOM took control of the production for this song, with ? featuring on his debut album. It sees him begin shaping his young villain persona before taking a look back on DOOM’s life and making it a very emotional and personal song.
14. Vaudeville Villain
The title track of DOOM’s first album under the alias Viktor Vaughn, Vaudeville Villain has a surprising guitar beat driving DOOM through the verses. It sees Viktor going off on other rappers he thinks suck while also dropping references about anime, Dan Aykroyd, and everything in between.
15. Gazzillion Ear
MF DOOM hadn’t been around for a bit by the time Born Like This was released in 2009, but the first track on the album was a warning shot to everyone that doubted he could get back to the top of the game. Gazzillion Ear sees DOOM go as hard as he ever could, shifting beats constantly and never dropping the ball with his flow.
16. Anti Matter
Anti Matter was a standout track on the Take Me To Your Leader album, partly because of just how good Mr. Fantastik and DOOM sound. The other part sees DOOM whip out his drawly singing voice that would become a staple of the rest of his career (which some people liked and others didn’t), representing a bit of a sonic shift for the rapper.
17. Rock Co.Kane Flow
De La Soul’s seventh album closed in one of the best ways possible. It sees a pounding piano beat from Jake One and two killer verses from DOOM that stile the show, which is saying a lot about how good an act De La Soul was at the time.
18. One Beer
Before One Beer appeared on MM…FOOD, it was featured on Stone’s Throw Records. It may have been one of the best songs on that album regardless, leaving fans clamoring for a second full-length Madvillain album every time they heard this song.
19. Rapp Snitch Knishes
Rap Snitch Knishes is another entry from DOOM’s food-centric album, this time featuring a guest performance from Mr. Fantastik. It’s another one of his most quotable songs, with lines like, “True, there’s rules to this sh*t, fools dare care / Everybody wanna rule the world with tears for fear.”
20. Fancy Clown
Can you imagine calling out your girlfriend for cheating on you with… yourself? That’s kind of what this song was, seeing Viktor Vaughn (DOOM) call his girl out for cheating with DOOM that saw a detailed romantic rivalry begin between the two personas and was something nobody but DOOM would be able to pull off.
Avalanche made the rounds online long before it was released officially in 2016. A loose track from Madvillainy, the release made fans think a Madvillain 2 was coming, but it never did. It’s the perfect playful and confident flexing song for DOOM that rolls off his tongue like snow down a mountain.
22. The Gas Face
We have to go back before the DOOM persona even formed for The Gas Face. It was a time when our rapper was performing as Zev Love X. It’s one of the earliest examples of his wordplay abilities, seeing him craft hilarious lines while simultaneously dissing all the haters and fake people out there.
23. Rhinestone Cowboy
Rhinestone Cowboy was the last and longest track on Madvillany, but it could pass for a live concert recording. You’ll hear crowd noise and applause throughout the track, and it feels like DOOM is coming out and performing an encore.
24. Mince Meat
The Mouse and the Mask had a lot of great moments, drawing on Adult Swim cartoons for samples and seeing DOOM and Danger Mouse at the top of their game. Mince Meat is the only release from DANGER DOOM (the two as a pair) that sees the masked MC make good on his threats to turn the beat to mince meat.
If ever a rapper could spit a track in their sleep, it was DOOM on this one. Not lacking in heat or creativity, this one was a laid-back song near the end of MM…FOOD that DOOM even claims to be able to do in his sleep in the song.
Peachfuzz was a standout track from KMD’s debut album Mr. Hood and saw a 20-yr.-old DOOM joking about how young they are as they assert their prowess in both the bedroom and on the verse. Even at such a young age, DOOM’s talent on the mic was obvious, seeing him easily drop intricate and thought-out lines.
27. It Ain’t Nuttin’
It Ain’t Nuttin’ was one of the hottest tracks from The Herbaliser’s 2002 album Something Wicked This Way Comes. Doom absolutely destroys the track, putting his lyrical mastery on full display and all but out-shining his collaborators.
28. People Places Things
If you want something with the longest official title possible, this is it, as its full name was Chubb Rock Please Pay Paul His $2200 You Owe Him (People, Places and Things). Our supervillain owns the second half of the song, namedropping everyone you can think of, including author Rudyard Kipling.
Fazers sees DOOM take on his King Geedorah persona to drop one of the absolute best verses in his entire career (which says a lot). Sadly, it’s largely slept on, even among hardcore fans of MF DOOM. An epic beat is the foundation for one of DOOM’s classic tracks.
30. No Snakes Alive
No Snakes Alive was another one of those tracks on that other 2003 album we talked about in the Saliva entry, seeing DOOM take on his King Geedorah persona to drop what’s typically thought of as his most complex song ever. Everyone on this track killed their parts, DOOM, Jet Jaguar, and Rodan, so you know it’s absolutely fire.
31. Bomb Thrown
Bombs might explode but they don’t blow up the MF DOOM does on this track. An aptly-named song considering the way he slays the beat for it, Bomb Thrown was the shining achievement of DOOM’s 2018 collaboration with Czarface, bringing the track to a close like the elder statesman of rap he is.
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