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Having re-invented himself as psychedelic masked rapper MF Doom (not to mention alter egos King Gedorah and Viktor Vaughn), Daniel Dumile–formerly KMD’s Zev Love X–has fittingly teamed up with producer Madlib, who’s no stranger to aliases himself (see Quasimodo, Yesterday’s New Quintet). Rap formulas of the day are given the boot on Madvillainy; most of the 22 tracks clock in at around two minutes and many cuts consist of Doom spitting one long verse. Nobody chops up jazz standards and reworks them into SP 1200-induced soundscapes better than Madlib, so the warbled strings and unpredictable tempo shifts on “Strange Ways” and the flipped accordion sounds on “Accordion” carry the texture of a jazz record. While Madlib’s predilection for piecing together cryptic found sounds can get a bit tiresome, Doom’s self-deprecating narrative of a man “on a fast track to half-sane” is genius and madness all rolled into one big blunt. Yep, on “America’s Most Blunted” he gloats about being “nominated for the best rolled L’s.” While “Rainbows” proves that Doom shouldn’t ever sing–and yeah, his scratchy, drawling flow is an acquired taste–he’s still “got more lyrics than the church’s got ‘Oooh Lords.'” This is rap for frying your brain cells, and we all know they need a good cooking every now and then

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