After hearing leaked singles, “Banished“, “Guv’nor” and “Rhymin’ Slang” in the last couple of month’s, DOOM fans have been rejoicing across the internet as the Jneiro Jarel x DOOM collaborative effort JJ DOOM will soon be upon us.
Over the past decade we’ve seen MF DOOM collaborations in increasing numbers and each one has always been it’s own animal indeed. From the critically acclaimed brilliance of Madvilliany, the ludicrous genius of the Adult Swim sponsored DANGERDOOM and the earlier this year release of Masta Ace’s surprisingly stellar MA_DOOM, two of the most apparent things you should grasp from any and all of those albums would be that working with DOOM is one of Hip-Hop’s Holy Grail’s and when you have been tapped to work with the Villain, you had best be prepared for your project to receive high scrutiny, as the end result can likely make or break you for future listeners.
After spinning KTTK a few times, it became apparent that this set may not completely be what staunch DOOM fans will have been waiting for if they aren’t open to change. Yes, there are several tracks that will harken back to his earlier recordings in vocal tone but the most glaring aspect of the album’s differences lies not within the rhyme spitter himself, as at this point we should be well used to Metal Fist Terrorist‘s verbal eccentricities. No, this time around the major shift lies solely in the dramatic change in the production.
The soundscape that Jarel weaves here is very well removed from what most avid listeners are used to hearing DOOM lay his off-kilter multi-syllabic flows over. Gone are the well selected, dusty loops from rare recordings that let you know that The Masked Villain was spending mucho tiempo diggin’ in the crates, as Jarel replaces the normal backdrop with much spacier more modern sounds, doubled/tripled drums, scatterings of electricity, smatterings of Dubstep, dalliances with Jazz Fusion and the faintest echoes of Chillwave but inexplicably he manages to keep a well defined undercurrent of Hip-Hop as the backbone of the structure. To the album’s and JJ’s credit, these are the elements that most help to bolster the entire project as they give a new depth to the familiar, quirky delivery we’ve grown fond of. Yet at short times, they also manage deter and hamper some of the organic thought pattern normally displayed in DOOM‘s words.
Some tracks will compare in auditory outlandishness to songs created under one of DOOM‘s many alter-ego’s (King Geedrah) during his Monster Island Czar’s phase and will take quite a few listens to get all the way through them such as with “Borin’ Convo” or in the lead single
Admittedly, the Masked One sticks with the spastic uptempo in usual form, ala “I Hear Voices” but the car alarms mixed with the muted bass wobble can be a bit much when mentally trying keep up with the verbal gymnastics doing back handsprings and forward tuck and rolls around your ears. Other songs will decidedly be more straight forward, easier to digest and while still pushing quite a few sonic boundaries, shouldn’t get too cumbersome for new fans or those that are already hanging on the Mask‘s every word.
makes good use of the little known fact regarding DOOM‘s British heritage, as he spouts the colloquial phrase on the hook while giving us his patented brand of murky humor over Jarel’s cheerfully dismal loop. Almost the same can be said of
which shows DOOM in prime fighting mode, verbally accosting wack Emcee’s with various punchjab flows of the handsome Cockney variety, while the track itself takes on an upgraded anthemic Rocky vibe.
Also strewn across the album are several tracks that while do add dimension, seem to be more about filler than killer. Most aren’t bad, I found myself actually liking the fuzzed out vibe in “Bout The Shoes” but I had trouble getting past the droning opening of “Viberian Sun II” and as much as I dig Goodie Mob especially Khujo Goodie, his attempt at making a second part or an “Ode To” the seminal “ALL CAPS” would have been better left as a fleeting thought than a listenable concept.
With any DOOM release, there will always be those crystalline song moments where every aspect of the audio seems to gel together and he lavishes our ears with tracks that contain the crucial balance we have become familiar with in his past work; dense wordplay, spaciousness production and witty concepts. I found it in these three that meld all that together just right and become instantaneous “Go To” songs.
“Bite The Thong”
“Wash Your Hands”
In summary, KTTK has been well executed on both fronts. Though it may not be within the same planetary orbit as his past collaborations or even in the same cosmos as DOOM‘s solo efforts, most of its songs will find ear with his core listeners based more on his ever increasing command over words and the sonics he projects them upon, though the project should also give the eccentric artist a new foothold within the alt-music crowd and convert even more people into his ever growing fan-base.
For the record, I’m still holding out for Swift & Changeable.