MF DOOM (and/or the Imposter) Sucks Live

Let me preface this blog by saying I’m a huge DOOM fan. Seriously, I’ve been rocking with dude forever. I got all his solo shit, the Victor Vaughn, King Geedorah side projects, all the Special Herbs instrumental albums—I even own a limited-edition copy of Special Herbs, Vol 1 on vinyl with the famed Marvel cover art. I mean the standom runs extra deep (II- ha!). I think the man stands among the greats lyrically—yes, I said it—and his taste for loops is impeccable. I even made it a priority to turn a million of my friends, acquaintances and co-workers onto him because the guy is just that ill.

But let’s get one thing clear, he absolutely sucks live. Granted, I only saw him perform once or twice, but that was more than enough. You see, the masked super-villain makes headphone music in the truest sense. The best way to enjoy a dude like DOOM is by yourself on the train, so you can catch all the lil metaphors and witty references. Tom Briehan said it best back when he was writing for the Village Voice.

“…his music isn’t even remotely suited for a live show. On record, his under-the-breath all-tangent flow is compellingly mysterious, especially when paired with swirling low-fi beats. It’s headphones stuff. Onstage, he doesn’t have the advantage of that mystery; he’s just a chubby dude in a mask rapping too loud over muddy beats…”

Yet despite all the shitty show reviews (we’re far from the only ones), the indie favorite still manages to sell tickets. Now here’s the best part, it’s rumored that half the time he’s not even present at the concert. You all heard the controversy, on several occasions it’s believed that MF had one of his cronies don his signature metal mask and jump onstage.

The hullabaloo continued recently when DOOM, who was born Daniel Dumile, played Chicago. New York magazine’s Vulture blog (who has some great hip-hop coverage) investigated to some hilarious results. Apparently now Doom, or the imposter, is believed to be lip syncing.

The promoter of the said gig, Harry Knuckles had this to say: “…it was pretty obvious that the guy was lip-syncing, but we can’t say that it wasn’t Dumile. If Dumile lip-syncs because he is too fat, alcoholic and out of breath to spit his own verse, I guess that’s what it has come to now.

In an interview with Wax Poetics from December 2008, Metal Face addressed the issue.

…you never know what to expect. I’ll fuck around and do some shit like that, just to fuck around with a nigga head. ‘Cause I’m like this: it’s music; I’m doing the shows; the stage is my canvas; I’ll put whatever up there for the visible eye. But it’s music, for listening to. Looking at it has nothing to do with what it sounds like. A blind person could be at the show and feel it clearly, but don’t see nothing of it. Don’t matter what the shit look like. Look, was niggas rockin’ or was niggas rockin’? See, I’m snapping niggas out of it. I might change my mind and want to retire from that part. I’m not sweating my ass out onstage no more. I’ve spit hundreds of thousands of lyrics, time and time again. Maybe I’ll take a break, or maybe never come back. That’s my choosing as an artist. And it’s their choosing to criticize it too. But that’s my other job—to snap niggas out of it.”

Now here’s some questions for you: Why do fans continue to go see DOOM play? Why do promoters continue to book him? Will your man suffer from this reputation he’s established or is his cult following just too loyal? What do y’all think, have you ever seen a live DOOM live show?

Speak on it. —Jesse Gissen

  • http://www.bLaZed1.com bLaZed1

    Yeah I’m not sure, he sounds like a real phony live.

    • http://gotdoom.metalfacerecords.com MFAZWE

      For a more in-depth discussion of the MFDOOM saga, as well as of course, the most insight that you’ll EVER get into the Artist enigma that we call MFDOOM, from one of his closest confidants – check out the website at . Please also note that all participation is FREE–all feedback and comments are listed in the order that they are received–and had been explicitly-requested sometime late last year by MFDOOM, himself.

  • caino

    l got dudes album, l like his music, but if l bought a ticket to his concert and it was an impersonator on stage, l would be be raging and demanding my money back!

  • That Dude

    I saw DOOM with Talib in DC back when madvillainy came out. I do believe it was him and his show did suck ass. Some dude was up there with him just picking beats of of a laptop no dj or anything. Doom just walked back and forth on stage in Pajama bottoms, a Knicks Jersey, and his mask. Even though I had never heard of him before the show I was still made an instant fan because of how hard the beats knocked. I would have even gone to see Doom again but knowing that it could be a fake I’ll keep my money and just rock out in the car on my way to work…

  • http://deathbeforetaxes.blogspot.com nashvillain

    I saw DOOM in Austin, 2005. Count Bass D opened and DJ’d for DOOM’s set. Some forgettable guys rapped in between. It was definitely doom and I thought he was okay (Count Bass stole the show, easy) but people were mad he left kinda early and had no encore.

    • whitebear

      I was at that Austin show. Count Bass D really whipped the llama’s ass. John Robinson (Lil Sci) opened for him, and Grand Buffet. I thought those two performances were pretty good. Doom I was just disappointed. I was just losing my buzz when Doom was catching his fears, took him like an hour and a half to come out on stage.

      I would still recommend seeing him if you get the chance.

  • Nike Addict 707

    I’ve seen DOOM in perform and it did suck.
    I still like his music though.
    But 95% of rap concerts i went to sucked.

    • valdez

      “But 95% of rap concerts i went to sucked.”

      ^^ cosign.

      but doom is creative. i like some of his stuff. it’s different. that said, i woulda never went to one of his concerts even before i heard about his shows sucking ass or the imposter.

  • Dez

    One of the worst performers I have ever seen and I’ve been to a ton of shows. Waste of money.

  • beaver

    i dont care if its a impersonator or not.
    i want 2 go 2 a show of his..or impersonator..

    i’m 16..
    i love DOOM..
    hes 1 of da bestt..in my opinion..

    i wish he came by Illinois..sumwhere..i would go see him quickk..

    his musikk is so dope.. beats are amazin.. great lyrics..
    he can spit 4 days..

    i’m a DOOM stan 4sure..i listened 2 all of his shit..
    including the victor vuaghn and king geedorah.. and all da side shit lik DOOMILATION, The MF EP..

    DOOOMMM!!!!!!!!

  • beaver

    i dont care if its a impersonator or not.
    i want 2 go 2 a show of his..or impersonator..

    i’m 16..
    i love DOOM..
    hes 1 of da bestt..in my opinion..

    i wish he came by Illinois..sumwhere..i would go see him quickk..

    his musikk is so dope.. beats are amazin.. great lyrics..
    he can spit 4 days..

    i’m a DOOM stan 4sure..i listened 2 all of his shit..
    including the victor vuaghn and king geedorah.. and all da side shit lik DOOMILATION, The MF EP, The Mouse And The Mask, MAdvillainy,..

    DOOM is just dope sick ill..plain and simple..

  • live what

    i never understood why you would wanna see anybody live because you can put that music in your home and just cool out. i refuse to listen to any live recordings they suck. i ‘ve never enjoyed live recordings. i understand why artists do it because they make no money from record labels this is the only way they get paid but i never thought live recordings have any value. i rather listen to a christmas album.

  • Mr. North

    I saw DOOM in LA at El Rey and I know it was him cause I was in the front takin pics with my phone. But the show was hella short about 20 mins. I cant even remember the songs he did…then he was gone no encore like the other guy said. People were hella pissed. I didnt care too much cause I knew it actually was him (even thought i only seen him on video). And he said himself above and his rhymnes. “Im like D. Cooper/Out with the moola” and the fact that he is the SUPER VILLIAN. I still support him and would pay for another DOOM show if it was like $10 just to see if its him.

  • Ray UK

    @ live what, Man you are missing out if you dont go an see your fave artist live! Ive been to too many to mention but one highlight was The Roots at Mnachester UK, they rocked the show, full live band for over two hours, great stuff also special mentions to Game and Beastie Boysand Busta Rhymes

  • El Tico Loco

    Dude been the game tooo long to not know how to rock a crowd; then again Nas and Jay Z can’t really perform live either, if we weren’t familiar with their music and looked past special appearances and stage props their live performance would be dead. Roots, Wu Tang (with Meth on stage), KRS1, Supernatural them dudes know how put on a show.

    • CT-Finest

      Nas & Jay-Z can’t perform?
      when it comes to rap, Jay-Z the best liver performer i have seen. Nas is good too

      • CT-Finest

        live performer i have seen

        • El Tico Loco

          if we weren’t familiar with their music and looked past special appearances and stage props
          ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

          key sentence in my statement take that away tell me what you get? All stannery aside please.

        • 6ix

          Well guess what show I’m not going to watch?

    • 6ix

      Roots hands down best show ever seen! The encore was bonkers!

    • shone jones

      The Roots never could cut it live.

  • Mr. Q

    I went to see DOOM at the Southern California Rock The Bells show last year, and it was terrible. He went on like an hour late (which ran into Nas’ show on another stage), and it wasn’t even him. People were pissed!
    I still love his music and everything that he offers to the culture, he has definitely done things his way.
    It just sucks that when you spend your hard earned money on a show and you get a bad clone on stage instead of the real deal.
    But, I still got love for ya DOOOOOOM!
    Born Like This = 1 of the Top 5 Best Ablums of 2009

  • crack

    interesting short coming for a prolific rapper to have
    nigga is ill on the track though

  • WILLW

    WHAAAAAAT!? @ shone jones says:

    “The Roots never could cut it live.”

    WTF are you high??? Hands down, The Roots are the dopest live show I’ve seen…multiple times…and every time called out for encore. They must do something right at a live show for that to happen.

    DOOM will be fine. i feel him though…that dude is getting mad old. Since the days of KMD he’s been rockin it, cut him some slack. We all will still bump his shit regardless and wonder “who the hell says shit like that” when we do.

  • Axeo

    I might as well say it. We go see DOOM live because we all know he makes more money from the shows then his albums.Im sure since it’s DOOM if he made a lot of money off albums and production for other artist, he wouldnt do live shows just to keep the mystery going.Then again he might just be doing it like he said just to mess with people’s heads.

  • cool v

    i saw DOOM years ago at s.o.b in NY .the monster island massive was there too. the show was top notch. i ain’t seen the peach fuzz kid in a while but yo, there are tons of crappy shows now. i’d rather spend my ducets seeing the mask make a mockery……

  • latino heat

    i also agree that the Roots live show is very over rated. i saw them at RTB last year and they had a 40 minute set and did a 12 minute version of You Got Me. why would you do a 12 minutes version of one song when you know you only have 40 minutes to perform?

    i don’t need 10 minute guitar solos at a hip hop show. just get to the next song already. all that extra shit they were doing just made my a.d.d. kick in and made me want to go see who was performing on the 2nd stage.

    to the guy above that said he dosen’t go to live shows, you are trippin homie. hip hop is meant to be seen and experienced live. listening at home or in the car is nowhere near the same. i feel you on live albums though. i never understood the point of those either. same for concert dvd’s.

  • http://www.bboycult.com $yk!

    Isn’t that the purpose of DOOM wearing the mask? To break cats out of the image thing and concentrate on the music?

    There are a whole lot of rappers who DO show up and lip sync and have no stage presence AT ALL. So DOOM sends impostors to do shows? There are HIP HOP impostors who do shows on the regular.

    Speak on that…

  • NotoriousAGC

    Rap music isn’t really meant for concerts, I remember i went to a Wu-tang show in San Bernandino,CA and while it was nice seein’ some of my favorite artists it was..un-coordinated and Old Dirty was singin some OTHER shit (he was ON somethin’),and ive seen the Up in Smoke tours on dvd and they look boring as hell, with all those white kids throwin devil horns and just waiting for Eminem’s silly ass….Rock shows on the other hand are fuckin insane

  • rembrandt

    He is about to play in amsterdam, and I wanna go…But i aint paying for some lip-syncing bs.

  • What The ?

    I have to agree that almost all live hip-hop shows blow extra caviar out Beluga holes. Maybe it’s because I’m just getting older but personally all live shows would suck bollocks without the alcohol and smuggled in co-co laced blunts. Not just hip-hop but almost all live shows of any genre seem like all smoke and mirrors these days with extra auto tune and voice overs, faggot fashion designers dressing the artists the way they feel is hip and stage crew pyrotechnics,the music scene entirely rite now is all a gimmick that’s why it fucking sucks so bad, it’s getting lamer every year, no more heart and sole but rather lets hop on the newest “in” thing and ride someone else’s wave and follow the typical industry standard bullshit blueprint. Maybe Doom doesn’t feel like dancing around the stage like a retarded back street boy or Usher look a like. His music is dope, as far as I’m concerned the live shows have fuck all to do with the realness of an artist in fact the guys that over exaggerate acting like the next reject on dancing with the stars are humiliating themselves and look foolish anyway, but you have to impress the tweens rite ? all the 9 year olds ? I could give a fuck what a man looks like even if it’s a fat ass in pajammas or not or if he flies around the stage like Peter Pan doing balarena moves like your average hipster rapper, it’s all lyrics and beats to me, as long as he acknowledges the fans at the show then he’s authentic as his rhymes. Too me it’s the other guys that dance around like faries and overhype themselves that are the frauds. Any dumb bastard can put a Santa Clause suit on at Christmass and make the kids happy but is that really real.

  • Lets exchange info, if you don’t like what I said…

    This blogger needs to go… I’m sorry Jesse, but, just telling by your rants, you are most def NOT in the KNOW of how “we” get down. What, is it because your a hip hop fan and employed by XXL? Does not give you a pass to post degrading blogs… So the fuck what if DOOM doesn’t fuck with the shows? Shows are wack anyway! Why would DOOM want to “dance like a monkey” in front of a bunch of preppy douchebags? Fuck that! Besides that, isn’t there more important things to be talking about? Like how your employer XXL rapes this culture you “love so much”? Go sit down, and give the people who deserve to be in your position a shot, go back to your TI and young Jeezy shit homie, we don’t deal with niggas willing to dance for chump change, and we def don’t deal with people out of touch with us, “tryna be down”. Fuckin crumbs.

    • RDS

      Tell ‘em why you mad son…lol.

      On a more serious note, all that really was unnecessary. The blogger has a point. Hip-Hop has ALWAYS been performance entertainment. When it started in New York, cyphering in the park, kids crowded around listening, ooh-ing and ahh-ing at dope lyrics and beatboxing. THAT then was the show. As the music grew and evolved, so did the audience. Exponentially. I understand DOOM’s getting older and his body doesn’t move or behave the way it used to in his ultimate youth, but a wack show is a wack show. Period. You really missed the point of what the writer was saying. Personally, I wouldn’t have a problem with DOOM using an impersonator if the impersonator didn’t half-ass the performance and then bailout early. I’m not rich, but I’m not dead broke. I go to school, I work full-time and frankly, if I’m taking time out of my day and money out of my bank account to go watch someone perform, I’d much rather enjoy myself. It’s no different from going to see a bad movie. You feel like you wasted your money. And contrary to what you seem to think about people being “out of touch”, some of us DO in fact like going to shows. Good ones, anyway.

      I’m just saying, be a little more unbiased in your approach. There are always two-sides to every story.

      -R

  • Tell me you don’t like it…

    This blogger needs to go… I’m sorry Jesse, but, just telling by your rants, you are most def NOT in the KNOW of how “we” get down. What, is it because your a hip hop fan and employed by XXL? Does not give you a pass to post degrading blogs… So the fuck what if DOOM doesn’t fuck with the shows? Shows are wack anyway! Why would DOOM want to “dance like a monkey” in front of a bunch of preppy douchebags? Fuck that! Besides that, isn’t there more important things to be talking about? Like how your employer XXL rapes this culture you “love so much”? Go sit down, and give the people who deserve to be in your position a shot, go back to your TI and young Jeezy shit homie, we don’t deal with niggas willing to dance for chump change, and we def don’t deal with people out of touch with us, “tryna be down”. Fuckin douche bag

  • caino

    One of the best Hiphop concerts l have seen gotta go to Xzibit, it was a like a month after he dropped the album produced by DRE shit was insane.

    Special mention to Method Man & Redman their show was awesome as was The Game, seen him right after Documentray was released. Busta is always good as well as are Jurassic 5 !! D12 when they came with their first album (which is underrated ‘ Is Richard prior still alive? If not , then l’m sicker than he was prior to him dying’)

    worst concert ever was Obie Trice, 1 verse each song interrupted by stupid gunfire effects from the DJ. (this also goes to every fiddy concert)

  • http://gotdoom.metalfacerecords.com MFAZWE

    For a more in-depth discussion of the MFDOOM saga, as well as of course, the most insight that you’ll EVER get into the Artist enigma that we call MFDOOM, from one of his closest confidants – check out the website at .

  • 92FS

    The hip-hop Buckethead. He got some crazy songs, but never been to any of his shows before.

  • http://www.gunsandorroses.com www.gunsandorroses.com

    This was one of the fairest pieces I’ve seen on Doom especially since the “controversy” about the “doombots” started. I LOVE DOOM, but I’ve always thought he had one piece missing as a rapper, once piece of Kryptonite- this piece hit it on the head- Doom is what J-Live calls “walkman music.” I bump it on my headphones like a religion, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to see the sausage get made. I give this piece a lot of props and I wonder if the doomposter phenomenon isn’t just doom being doom, or doom calling the hip hop live show bullshit, or what. Help me figure it out… http://www.gunsandorroses.com/2010/02/dooms-face-revealed.html

  • Otto the Rugged Man

    Tech N9ne’s the best rapper on stage, period. maybe it’s because everytime I see him live, I’m fucked up on ecstasy and acid, but still that’s apart of the concert experience. And to the guy above, rock shows FTW for sure, mostly because they use *live* instruments. I saw Kanye during the Touch the Sky tour and dude had a ochrestra and the performance was dope. Most rap shows (Wu, Bone Thugs, Luda, Lil Flip, Paul Wall), I’ve seen, though, suck. Shitty DJ’s, lip-syncing, poor soundboard mixing, performing drunk/sloppy (Nas & Mos Def), etc. Most rappers are horrible live and the majority of today’s rapper have zero mic presence/delivery (lost skill). Most kats just can’t emcee anymore. But I agree, rap/hip-hop is headphone music. And Doom’s flow is boring, dope lyrics and beats, though. However, at least “Doom” shows up for the concert, unlike some, like Scarface. But still, I would never see Doom just because he has bad rep.

    I do like some live hip-hop recordings (Jay-Z & Kanye West got some great live shit), but live rock recordings are much better.

    And age don’t mean shit either, look at the classic rockers, like The Who and Rolling Stones, they still moving the crowd in their 60′s.

  • sway-z

    On some real shit, unless you going to a tour date with “real” money put into it, most shows are gonna be wack anyway.

    You got cheap mics and shitty sound men with corny back up coons screaming over top of the main artist. It’s always been like that so if you going, your going more for the energy of it, and a nigga like Doom don’t come across like somebody who gonna give mad energy on stage

  • fraudshit

    “we don’t deal with niggas willing to dance for chump change, and we def don’t deal with people out of touch with us, “tryna be down”. Fuckin crumbs.”

    but you down with motherfuckers taking names out of comic books and not even turning up for shows much less lip syncing the whole way through, and wearing a fucking mask the whole time, oh yeah boy you definetly on that real shit, don’t be mad at XXL it’s his own fans saying this shit, you just sound like some bitch trying to justify why he getting paid for shows he ain’t even doing, what you on his payroll or something? you can bitch about ti and jeezy and blah blah but at least motherfuckers are there and you can clearly see that they are there, not in the case of this stupid motherfucker who wanna play clue with his fans, if thats the case don’t say MF doom is gonna be there say “mf doom’s impersonator lip syncing live in concert tonight!” than at least people know what they in for.

  • Nate

    Appreciate his music, but I’d rather go see Snoop Wed than see Doom when he is in town. Each rapper has his own strengths. Onstage is not one of Doom’s….

  • doomist

    I was fortunate to see Doom live in SF a few years ago and it was him. He was amazing- interacting with the crowd, free-styling, gave 110%.

  • http://www.richlambe.com Rich

    Just seen him in dublin and holy god it was the worst gig ive ever had the unpleasure of paying my hard earned cash for.That mothafucka promoter would have made 15, ooo euro in total for this piece of shit performance 500 people in total… playing music off a ipod with no visuals..And a dj pretending to spin the decks. the whole gig lasted 40 minutes… Thank fuck i was stoned and found the whole thing hilarious. . . . Karaoke as its best…DO NOT GO TO MF DOOMED

  • brian almazan

    i fuckin appreciate his music either way,