Ten years ago yesterday, one of the most important hip hop records of the 2000s came out. Madvillain, the combination of MF Doom and Madlib, released the fittingly named Madvillainy on Stones Throw Records. Making use of Madlib’s jazzy, crate digging production and Doom’s stream of consciousness rhymes. The album was abstract, broke down the typical format of hip hop songs, and is completely a unique release.
Ten years down the road, the record still sounds fresh, a quality many classics can claim. What makes this a truly special record is that while others have tried to emulate, nothing else comes close to Madvillainy. The blunted raps on Raid, All Caps, and obviously America’s Most Blunted flow well, but the abstractness of Bistro, Curls, and Rhinestone Cowboy also ground the listener into an altered reality.
22 songs in around 45 minutes is strange for any record (save maybe the most hardcore of punks) but does so in the world of hip hop. The record gets to the point, even if you’re not really quite sure what the point was. By today’s standards, even the more underground rap isn’t quite as adventurous and intellectual as Madvillainy.
The record spawned several singles, two remix EPs, one by Koushik, the other by Four Tet, and a re-imagined version by Madlib himself. While the group has only spawned one new song since, promises of a follow up are clouded by the ever mysterious Doom, who is apparently holding the project up. Since then Madlib has released many, many, many albums, while producing for tons of other rappers as well. Doom has released a few albums by himself and with others, but really nothing touches the legacy of Madvillainy.