This is the first in a series of Open Threads focusing on my personal top 10 albums of all time.
My 10th favorite album is Madvillainy, the seminal collaboration between rapper MF DOOM and producer Madlib, collectively known as Madvillain.
“As luck would have it, one of America’s two most powerful villains of the next decade— has turned loose to strike terror into the hearts of men…”
This is the best project either member of Madvillain has ever been involved with, and one of the greatest rap albums of this century so far. It’s also a completely unique object. The album contains practically no hooks, and the production is abrasive rather than smooth like most of MF DOOM’s solo work. There are 22 tracks, only 3 of which exceed 3 minutes. Interspersed among DOOM’s reliably phenomenal abstract verses and Madlib’s head-spinning instrumentals are various spoken-word samples describing either one dastardly villain or two (the speaker keeps changing his mind). Nothing about this album makes “sense,” and that’s where its magic lies. Madvillainy is a trip to a chaotic alternate universe, full of comedy and carnage in equal measure. It’s a jarring listen, but in a thrilling way that makes it an essential experience.