Entertainment: CD ReviewDanger Doom: “The Mouse And The Mask”
Danger Doom is the collaboration between lyricist MF Doom (formerly Zev Love X of the hip hop group KMD), producer Danger Mouse, and Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim late-night cartoon characters.
“Anyone who listens to this music is a kid at heart. It brings you back to when cartoons were the last bastion of good fun.” – MF Doom.
One of the greatest aspects of this record is that it transcends typical musical barriers: Music listeners vehemently opposed to rap are still able to appreciate this album. Laid-back lyricism and smooth, slapstick scores are coupled with Adult Swim absurdist humor and biting sarcasm that is a modern aural equivalent of a morning spent watching cartoons as a kid.
Danger Mouse proves to all of his detractors that he is no novelty act, a title bestowed to him after remixing The Beatle’s “White Album” with Jay-Z’s “Black Album” into his own creation: “The Grey Album.” His work with Gorillaz for their album Demon Days was decent, but hardly the caliber of Dan The Automator. This record is his proving grounds, and he devastates the sonic arena. Devising whimsical rhapsodies with sequencers and esoteric soundtrack samples, Danger Mouse’s loony tunes perfectly complements Doom’s penchant for outright ridiculous rhymes. Listening to Doom’s enigmatic flow makes you realize what an enjoyable project this was – the passion is evident throughout the entire album. That being said, you can definitely notice Doom’s veteran assistance on the production, most notably on “Benzi Box” and “Basket Case.” MF Doom maintains his outlandish lyricism over Danger Mouse’s devious jazz beat in “Vats Of Urine” – “Everybody talking about pistols: gats and warring/ I came with a new topic to flip you: vats of urine,” – tongue-in-cheek stream of consciousness rhyming is second nature to Doom.
The sarcastic cartoon characters of Adult Swim are a constant source of amusement, from Master Shake’s recurring phone calls to Doom to the various skits that hearken back to the glory days of De La Soul. The cameos reveal a close-knit cadre of like-minded emcees: Talib Kweli reminisces about simpler, more innocent times while waxing philosophic over Saturday morning cartoons and breakfast cereal. Ghostface delves into self-analysis with his characteristic raw, emotional-driven lyrics. Cee-Lo provides an extraordinary chorus that showcases his innate Southern, eclectic style. Despite the sheer cacophony of everything involved in this project, it succeeds. The concept of this album doesn’t intend to provide an in-depth analysis as “Madvillainy” did, or to saturate you with ingenious instrumentals: it serves as a sugary topping off to the glory days of childhood. This record will leave a wistful smile on your face. Danger Doom’s “The Mouse And The Mask” is available in stores now off Epitaph Records.