MF DOOM's 'Operation: Doomsday' Is the Blueprint for Independent Hip-Hop

In the face of great loss, rapper Daniel Dumile perfected a formula.
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MF DOOM 'Operation: Doomsday' album cover

In the face of great loss, rapper Daniel Dumile perfected a formula. His brother Dingilizwe “DJ Subroc” Dumile was fatally struck by a car in the same week that label Elektra Records dropped the brothers’ burgeoning group K.M.D. from its roster. In spite of these setbacks, Dumile, now known as MF DOOM, crafted his way to hip-hop gold and took the world of independent rap by storm. The byproduct of his tireless work was 1999’s Operation: Doomsday, a 19-track force of blunt rhymes and inventive samples.

Operation: Doomsday is a confluence of personal interest, tragedy and madcap creativity. With its dusty cartoon samples, DOOM’s penchant for anonymity, his stream-of-consciousness flows, and reliance on self-production, the album also doubles as a blueprint for all of independent rap, one that has inspired many over the course of the past two decades.

To celebrate the album’s twentieth birthday, we’ve broken down the four essential elements of the album. Each element drives Operation: Doomsday, but better yet, these elements serve to inform indie rap artists the world over.

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