MF DOOM, Hip-Hop Groundbreaker, Dead at 49

His influence on the genre was massive

MF DOOM at the Pitchfork Music Festival at Union Park on July 18, 2009 in Chicago.
Roger Kisby/Getty Images

One of hip-hop’s most singular personalities, rapper MF DOOM, has died at the age of 49. The news originally came via an Instagram post from his wife,  Jasmine Dumile. MF DOOM’s death was later confirmed by his label, Rhymesayers. The post revealed that his death occurred on October 31 of this year; the cause of death has not been revealed.

MF DOOM’s career in music began when he, as Zev Love X, was one-third of the group KMD, alongside his younger brother DJ Subroc. The group disbanded in 1993, following Subroc’s death. The man who would become MF DOOM — aka Daniel Dumile — resurfaced in 1997 after adopting his distinctive Doctor Doom-inspired persona, and released his full-length debut Operation Doomsday in 1999. A host of other acclaimed records, including collaborations with Madvillain (2004’s Madvillainy) and Danger Mouse (2005’s The Mouse and the Mask), followed. Along the way, his influence and his mythos both grew.

The final MF DOOM album, Born Like This, was released in 2009 to considerable acclaim. In the years since, he continued to collaborate with other musicians on songs, LPs and EPs, including “The Chocolate Conquistadors,” a collaboration with BADBADNOTGOOD released earlier this year.

A survey of reactions to his death on social media reveals the full extent of his impact on hip-hop; the phrase “your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper” is one that’s come up a lot. He leaves behind a vast musical legacy and an even greater influence — and a lot of amazing music.

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