Album Review: Madvillainy

Mini-Description: In my eighth album review, I revisit the collaboration between rapper MF DOOM and producer Madlib....and it turns out as a complete classic.

Best Songs: ALL OF THEM
Worst Song: N/A


Hello everyone, WonkeyDude98 here, and today we're going to talk about the debut album from Madvillain titled Madvillainy.

This review was not easy to make.

Let's talk for a second about 2004. A lot of stuff happened that year. I was born, Bush got reelected for some reason, and the music scene was more chaotic than it had been in years. Eminem released his most ridiculed project to date, Kanye West dropped his acclaimed debut album, and most notably of all, MC MF DOOM and producer Madlib came together as a duo named Madvillain, and they released their debut album Madvillainy within this year. So how'd it turn out?

...well, when ArchAces casually nagged me to listen to this album, I wasn't expecting easily my favorite hip-hop album of all time!

Where to even start with this masterpiece? It gets everything right! Instrumentation, production, technical rapping, vocals, lyrics, themes, it should be saying something when not only is there not a single song that lags behind on this album (say, like Stressed Out on blurryface or Hood Politics on To Pimp A Butterfly), a good half the tracklist stands out as masterpieces. But is it capable of reaching the score I've only ever given once before? Let's find out.

I might as well start with the most impressive thing about this album and that's MF DOOM himself. His flow is, by the standards of what makes flow good, absolutely terrible. But somehow, it's utter genius. It's off-kilter and odd, but he rides the beats incredibly well. It's unlike anything I've ever seen before. Even further helping it is his rhyme scheme. While we don't get Eminem's Legacy on this album, DOOM consistently makes rhymes that are clever, well-strung together, fluid, and punchy.

But what really makes DOOM special is his way with words. Every line is meaty, with some incredibly impressive wordplay. A prime example is Great Day, which ends with the incredibly twisted line "Easy as pi, 3.14, (1) more one false move and they're done for". All I'll tell you is that the next digit in pi is 3.141, and I'll leave your brain hurt to leave the rest. There's also lines like the "more cheese than Doritos, Cheetos, and Fritos" line in Accordion, or the first lines of Rhinestone Cowboy, which is probably my favorite song on the album, or the surprising respectability of an anthem like America's Most Blunted, which I will get to later. The only minor nitpick I had was in the sword line on Accordion: dude, it wouldn't kill the rhyme to pronounce it correctly. Even then, small nitpick, because on another album Accordion would be a huge highlight.

Honestly, Madlib does the least wonders for me, and the production is still incredible. It's pretty across the board, from the bouncy rubbery synth on Raid, to the correctly named Accordion, to the Frank Zappa sample on Meat Grinder, to the squealing horns on Rhinestone Cowboy, the glimmering keys offsetting the burbling bassline on Bistro, the blaring guitars and light crunch on the instrumental Sickfit, the bass piano on the instrumental Supervillain Theme, the oscillating wind on the interlude Eye, I could go on and on about how every note of every instrumental is on-point, but that would take all day!

And that takes us to the lyrics and themes. And wow, is there a lot to talk about. While this record isn't as philosophical as To Pimp A Butterfly or Because The Internet, or as brutally honest as My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, or as twisted insane as The Marshall Mathers LP, it's a beautiful combination of them all. In all honesty, the intro The Illest Villains is the "worst" song on the album for me, mainly because it just exists to be a hypeman track, and even then it works exceedingly well!

Then we get into the bones of it all, such as on Strange Ways, where DOOM digs into the struggle of the War On Drugs and how all this pain and suffering happen all because families need to live in this society which punishes the poor, and also covers on the events in the Iraq War in the second verse. Then we get America's Most Blunted, which is basically a weed anthem, and it does so in the most gloriously revolting ways possible, it makes me smile every time. Or Rhinestone Cowboy, which is essentially a wordplay behemoth, as is Accordion, which was actually a freestyle that DOOM breezed through, which is interesting considering how complex it is.

This whole album is presented by the character Madvillain, who is described (not exactly) as a dastardly, fatal tag team with no limit to their bars, tearing through rappers and producers viciously. And while they don't necessarily take potshots, given the downbeat, often glitchy production, DOOM's gruff voice and endless charisma, and the sheer force of the lyrics on a lot of these songs...yeah I can buy it!

The unique thing about this album is how short it is. It's a 22 track album, but it's only forty minutes. Personally, I think that makes the dense wordplay and lyrical depth even better, squeezing all kinds of genius talent in just under two minutes. Not to discredit America's Most Blunted or Rhinestone Cowboy, because those happen to be my favorites!

Even with all the praise, no amount of words can describe just how fantastic this album is on every level. It's an incredible listen, and is a classic in all regards. I'm feeling an 11. Yep, I did it. If this is any indication, CHECK THIS OUT. This is WonkeyDude98, and I made you wait three months for this oh my lord I'm a horrible person.


Yeah, this album is amazing. The only thing negatively that I have to say about it is that I wish it was longer. - SwagFlicks

You actually reminded me of a plus on this album, in that it's short, but sweet. - WonkeyDude98

DOOM makes me thing of the video game series. Also, at least bush could deal with terrorists, unlike useless obama(my nickname for Obama) - Therandom

#unrelatedcommentsftw - WonkeyDude98

I know, that's the reason I made it. - Therandom

HAHAA - WonkeyDude98

The double agent references for the win! - ProPanda

"I made you guys wait a month for this oh my god I'm a terrible person" - WonkeyDude98

HOLY WOW I need to rewrite this. The post isn't even bad, it just doesn't do this album justice. - WonkeyDude98