F Doom needs a hobby. Maybe he could host a monster movie society. He could do a welding workshop. Possibly do a Tom Cruise-esque seminar on male sexual empowerment. Whatever it is, no matter how talented he might be, Daniel Dumile needs to go on holiday. MM Food is both an anagram on his name and an unfortunately sporadic foray into the mind of Doom. While attempting to match the magic of underground classic Operation Doomsday, Doom has forgotten the thing that got him to that level of intangible dopeness: he wasn't trying nearly this hard to achieve painfully average success.
It opens with the obligatory Wu-core old movie quote and blasts into "Beef Rapp", a definite standout. This is the Doom of old: witty punchlines ("Keep a cooker where the jar fell / And keep a cheap hooker that's off the hook like Ma Bell"), weird references ("Barred from all bars and kicked out the Carvel") and lovably forced multi-syllabics ("Top bleeding, maybe fella took the loaded rod gears / Stop feeding babies colored, sugar-coated lard squares"). Godzilla horns, DIY bass synth and solid MPC finger stomp abounds: this is what was expected from a 220-pound, mask-clad New York Giant.
Questionable though is the awkward sequencing of skits. When they aren't installed at the top or bottom of a song, they are herded into an Interlude Concentration Camp, a four-track monolith that destroys MM Food's continuity. One of which is particularly heinous, for wasting the VICIOUS previously released instrumental "Dragon's Blood" with chat about poisonous food coloring and fig leaves. Other than the lame soundclip cut n' pastes, Doom's journey loses focus with pointless guest spotlight "Guinesses" and the random inclusion of two older tracks "One Beer" (March 2004, Madvillain 7-inch over Jaylib "No Games") and "Con Queso" (July 2003, Molemen 12-inch). If you're going with antiquity, why not include the outstanding "All Outta Ale"?
The only completely new songs (if you consider the late Spring leak a previous release) are "Rapp Snitch Kanishes" and "Vomitspit". The former is smooth jazz-guitar strut that complements Doom well enough. But Mr. Fantastik steals the song, claiming to be true to the ski mask while playing fake gangsters like old accordions. The latter lives and dies on the AM dial Andy Griffith chimes and 808-to-break drum stomp, as the lyrics are relatively unremarkable. It's strange to see these songs make it while the surprisingly strong MC Paul Barman collab languishes in Outtake County.
The best points on the album are when Metal Fingers gets conceptual. For a guy who people pride on his ability to spin classic verses composed of random idioms and unfocused musing, his best work here is dedicated almost solely dedicated to women. "Hoe Cakes" is a marvel, a call-and-response "Whoa" throwback over unbeatable Biz-level beatboxing and the obligatory 80s proto-new jack swing we associate with the Supervillain. He details the lengths his special woman will go for him, while extolling words of encouragement for young pimps: "Whether a bougie broad, nerd hoe, street chick / Don't call her wifey if you met her at the Freaknik". "Deep Fried Frenz" recontextualizes Whodini in a cautionary tale that takes the original at face value "I checked the dictionary for the meaning of friend, it said / Person one likes to socialize with, sympathizer, helper / And that's about the size of it". Finally, the closer "Kookies" personifies himself as Famous Amos and his ladies in a similar confectionary sense. This track makes for both a companion piece to "My Favorite Ladies" and a potentially solid future single. These are the songs that sound most like OD and thus accomplish the album's goal best.
To understand why the album is disappointing, you must consider the different perspectives. The fresh listener sees an EP's worth of quality songs and a six-minute skit roadblock. Someone who heard the leak is confused as to why more wasn't done to circumvent the lack of newness inherent in early disclosure. Diehard MFers will retain respect in spite of reused beats, but won't be able to avoid comparing it to the solid-but-sparse King Geedorah record. All things considered, MF Doom's indie-mainstream coup doesn't fall flat, but ultimately fails to curb his namesake's sophomore slump.
Reviewed by: Rollie Pemberton
Reviewed on: 2004-11-19