On this day, April 20, in hip-hop history...

Operation Doomsday
Fondle 'Em Records

1999: Formerly known as Zev Love X of the politically charged K.M.D. crew, Daniel Dumile re-emerged as MF DOOM for the first time to release his debut solo album, Operation: Doomsday. This dramatic reinvention of himself as an artist came after a seemingly mysterious hiatus from the hip-hop scene, and simultaneously laid the foundation for his domination in the underground hip-hop scene for years to come.

In 1993, Daniel’s brother and K.M.D. partner, DJ Sub-Roc, was fatally struck by a car. That same week, Elektra Records dropped K.M.D. from their roster before they could release their second album, the controversial Black Bastards. Those events would push Zev into a very dark place. He distanced himself from music altogether, but when he finally did return years later, he came back with his image modeled after the Marvel super-villain Dr. Doom. He donned an iron mask and went by Metal Face Doom.

Released on Fondle ‘Em Records, Operation: Doomsday boasted some off-the-wall production. It featured everything from soulful smooth jazz samples to Scooby Doo loops to entire tracks handed off to other rappers (like MF Grimm). Such production with MF DOOM’s unconventionally raw but clever lyrical delivery made for a deadly combination. That was evident on “Rhymes Like Dimes” when he boasts, “I’m saying - electromagnetic field it blocks all logic, Spock/ And G-Shocks her biological clock.” —Jamal Bell

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