Daniel Dumile’s latest album BORN LIKE THIS. is his first under the DOOM moniker, a name inspired by the Marvel Comics super-villain Dr Doom. He’s been making records since 1999 under names like MF DOOM, Viktor Vaughn, King Geedorah, Madvillian, DangerDOOM and Metal Fingers. He’s not your average hip-hop artist, wears a metal mask and deliberately uses capital letters and awkward full stops in his album titles.
He’s uncompromising. And as you might expect, given his name, the record isn’t about sunshine and flowers. DOOM bleakly quotes Charles Bukowski about "hospitals which are so expensive it's cheaper to die... a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed" like a man who was homeless on the streets of Manhattan in the mid-‘90s as a result of slipping into a depression when his brother died.
But his rough past and comic-book obsessions combine delicately, as he spins rhymes about imaginary worlds. BORN LIKE THIS. is Dumile's first album in four years, but despite the break and name-change he’s just doing what he’s always done: reinventing rap. There’s no bling here. And Ghostface Killah and Raekwon both feature on the record, solidifying DOOM’s place as a member of hip-hop’s most innovative royal family, albeit one with no palace, no corgis and no one dressing up as a Nazi.