Before MF DOOM donned his mask and became one of the most prolific MC-producers of modern Hip-Hop, he was a member of KMD, an early ‘90s rap group whose work still goes criminally under-appreciated to this day.
Following their 1991 debut album, Mr. Hood, the former trio shed one member leaving only two remaining – Subroc and his brother, Zev Love X (better known today as MF DOOM). Originally scheduled for release in 1994, their sophomore album Black Bastards showed clear progression from their debut. It was a truly amazing record, both sonically and lyrically, full of youthful creativity and tinged with the stresses of growing up as Black men in urban America. Songs like the lead single “What A N*gga Know”, the slippery, bass-driven “Get U Now”, and the album’s title track explore Black consciousness viewed through young-but-experienced eyes. Musically alternating between bouncy and raw – many times both, concurrently – the tracks gave the MC’s the springboard they needed to express themselves clearly.
Sadly, Subroc would face a sudden and untimely death in 1993, just as the duo were finishing the album. Grief-stricken, his brother Zev Love X – now the sole remaining member of the group – was determined to carry the legacy of KMD onward, but Elektra Records unceremoniously shelved the project in the eleventh hour, due to controversy surrounding the album’s provocative cover art. Following the fallout with Elektra, Zev tried for years to release the album on other labels, but he was continually met with dead ends. Struggling through the pain of losing his brother, coupled with the inability to release their final project together, a discouraged Zev Love X quietly withdrew from the scene and began quietly plotting his revenge on an industry that had broken him spiritually. Thus, in order to understand the true origin story of the super-villain, MF DOOM, one must recognize and appreciate the evolution of his former group, KMD, and the backstory of their pivotal album, Black Bastards.