Madvillain is the dual conglomerate of two of the most influential artists known to hip-hop and to the rap community. MF DOOM and Madlib formed together to bring an experimental, trail-blazing album that practically ignored every way to make a hit album; there was no chorus, no long songs, and no radio hits. But Madvillainy prevailed as one of the stepping stones to experimental hip-hop and into one of my favorite albums ever made.
Madvillainy is focused on the lives of the two main stars, Madlib and MF DOOM. The two supervillains of hip-hop and the power house that surprised and shocked audiences with Madlib’s slick producing and DOOM’s butter rhymes that go so well together it is amazing they did not make another Madvillain record. The two coincide so well and their personalities complement each other through music.
DOOM provides some of his best work on this album, providing such lines like “Living off borrowed time,” and “got more soul/sole than a sock with a hole.” He was at his creative height at this point after coming off of working with MM…Food, Take Me To Your Leader, Venomous Villain and Vaudeville Villain, so it was safe to say that DOOM was a busy man with not only rhyming but also with producing.
Madlib on the other hand was also busy after working and finishing Shades of Blue, Theme for a Broken Soul, and A Tribute to Brother Weldon, which was a primarily Jazz tribute to Weldon Irvine. The two artists were busy with their own projects as well as creating Madvillainy, and after even just one listen, Madvillainy leaves audiences wanting more and to hear it again and again.
Madvillainy is an album that has skits in between almost like an MF DOOM album, but they have a Madlib spin on them. The album skits flow so well with each song and the production on Madvillainy is some of, if not the best on a record today. The different samples used, the constant head-bopping drums, and the iconic flow of DOOM, raised the bar on so many levels and left me even asking “How did they do this,” or “How did they do that?”
The album is just such a fun experience from start to end and it uses samples that are so iconic with the villainous intent of true masterminds. Frankenstein was the first sample I heard and recognized within the first minute of the opening song. It just brings back all those memories of the villains that made all those movies possible. The quote from the first track “The Illest Villains” where the announcer explains “Audiences loved to Hate.” This one quote describes the entire tone of the album; audiences love these villain characters simply because they are so dastardly and outrageous.
Madvillainy has some of the best production, some of the best lines ever spit, and one of the coolest themes that could ever be presented. It covers DOOM’s personal life, allows Madlib to spread his creative genius, and to finally create the Masterful duo that is Madvillain. Talk has been created around a second Madvillain album for years, but I would rather they spread out and do something else with their works. Madlib and DOOM could collaborate again, but Madvillain is something that should be left to stand as a monument in music alone, it does not need a successor or a partner in crime. MF DOOM and Madlib, or the villains did something most could never do, to “Strike terror into the hearts of men.”