Hip-Hop

Masked Rapper MF Doom Dies at 49

MF Doom
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MF Doom onstage at the Vanguard Music Festival in 2013.

MF Doom, the British-born artist who performed in a supervillain mask and started his rapping career more than 30 years ago, died on Oct. 31 of unknown causes, his wife announced Thursday (Dec. 31) -- exactly two months after his death. He was 49 years old.

"Begin all things by giving thanks to THE ALL!" Jasmine wrote in the post about her late husband (born Daniel Dumile) on the MF Doom Instagram account. "To Dumile, The greatest husband, father, teacher, student, business partner, lover and friend I could ever ask for. Thank you for all the things you have shown, taught and given to me, our children and our family. Thank you for teaching me how to forgive beings and give another chance, not to be so quick to judge and write off. Thank you for showing how not to be afraid to love and be the best person I could ever be. My world will never be the same without you."

Jasmine ended her note by also sending love to her late son, Malachi Ezekiel Dumile, who died in 2017 at age 14. "Words will never express what you and Malachi mean to me, I love both and adore you always," the message concluded. "May THE ALL continue to bless you, our family and the planet. All my Love, Jasmine."

Doom's former label Rhymesayers shared a link to Jasmine's post, along with this message: "With heavy hearts, we share these words from MF DOOM’s family."

Dumile was born in London and moved with his family to New York as a child. Under the stage name Zev Love X, he co-founded the trio K.M.D. with his brother Dingilizwe, who went by DJ Subroc. Dumile first made Billboard’s charts as a member of K.M.D., which notched a pair of top 20 hits on Hot Rap Songs in 1991: “Peachfuzz” and “Who Me?” His brother's April 1993 death in a car crash at age 19 caused Dumile to take a break from the industry before returning to rap in 1997 and adopting the MF Doom persona, modeled after Fantastic Four villain Doctor Doom. From then on, he always performed wearing his signature mask.

Doom may be best known for the 2004 album Madvillainy, which was recorded under the duo name Madvillain alongside producer Madlib and marked Doom's first appearance on the Billboard 200 albums chart.  The release also hit No. 9 on the Heatseekers Albums chart upon its 2004 debut. Madvillainy was chosen as one of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and the album's 10th-anniversary 2014 re-release returned to the Billboard 200 and peaked at No. 3 on Vinyl Albums.

Another of his high-profile collaborations was Danger Doom alongside DJ Danger Mouse (ahead of his Gnarls Barkley days) on The Mouse and the Mask, which was made in conjunction with Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block. Doom was also featured on Gorillaz sophomore album Demon Days on the song "November Has Come."

The enigmatic artist released his last full-length solo album, Born Like This, in 2009. Most recently, Doom hit No. 1 on Heatseekers Albums in April 2018 with Czarface Meets Metal Face, alongside Czarface. The acts collaborated for a second top 10 on the chart, the EP Man’s Worst Enemy, the following month.

There's no word yet on Doom's cause of death.