Operation: Doomsday is how the relatively unknown rapper Daniel Dumile became the beloved and villainous MF DOOM we know today. His debut as DOOM came nearly a decade after Dumile released Mr. Hood in 1991 with KMD, a duo he formed with his brother, Dingilizwe Dumile (a.k.a. DJ Subroc). Although the duo worked on the follow-up Black Bastards that was slotted to be released in 1993, it was ultimately shelved by the label due to its controversial cover art featuring a racist caricature being lynched. Sadly, KMD would dissolve in 1994 after DOOM’s brother passed away when struck by a car.
Five years following KMD’s dissolution, Daniel Dumile reinvented himself, opting to drop his KMD stage name Zev Love X to take on the masked MF DOOM persona, which set him up for one of the most unexpected career comebacks in hip-hop history. Operation: Doomsday features production from DOOM and King Ghidra (another of DOOM's alter egos) as well as the legendary Prince Paul, and contains guest appearances from Pebbles the Invisible Girl, MF Grimm, and Tommy Gunn. It’s a masterpiece that no one can ever replicate.
Although it seems Dumile’s only exploring the intricacies of his villainous creation in Doomsday, there’s more going on in this record than meets the eye. In 19 tracks, it reveals DOOM’s tragic past, his experience with the cutthroat music industry, and proximity to gang violence. If any lines could summarize this album, it’s these from “Tick, Tick…”: “My mind is heaven’s gate, so enter me / My mind is the gate to hell, so try to flee / Both gates look the same, which will it be?” Ultimately, it’s a hip-hop album bursting with contradictions and muddled by bizarre rhyme schemes that somehow manages to overcome them.
Operation: Doomsday was released in 1999 to critical acclaim and praised for its inventiveness, offbeat lyrical approach, and dark humor. It also gave Dumile the momentum to secure the release of his fabled Black Bastards album and set the stage for his 2004 Madlib-featuring opus Madvillainy, which has been cited as an influence by today’s biggest rappers, such as JAY-Z, Tyler, the Creator, and Kendrick Lamar.
This newest double LP reissue of Operation: Doomsday is being released on the same day as KMD’s Black Bastards, which contains its own special edition red vinyl. Dumile passed away at the age of 49 back in 2020. His cause of death has yet to be officially disclosed, but many on Reddit speculate it might have been from “spinal complications due to carrying the entire [rap] game.” Although he’s gone, MF DOOM will be with us forever.