MF DOOM and Madlib are Madvillain. The two met in 2002 and soon began working on Madvillainy which would be finished over the next year and released in March 2004. The music on Madvillainy went against the grain of all popular conventions in contemporary hip-hop: short songs, dirty sound, no choruses, and with lyrical themes which were not always clear to everyone on first listen. The album received the highest critical praise of a hip-hop album released in 2004, and years later has continued to generate interest and controversy.
MF DOOM went on to work with DANGERDOOM (with Danger Mouse), Gorillaz and Ghostface Killa. Madlib has continued developing his diverse production style for the likes of Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, Ghostface, as well as releasing several solo products under his own name and self-made creations Quasimoto, Yesterdays New Quintet and Beat Konducta.
In 2008, prolific as usual, Madlib remixed Madvillainy in its entirety. It was released in a limited edition box set in 2008.
DOOM and Madlib have worked on a second Madvillain album on and off for several years. If you’re waiting for it, wait in line behind us.
Rap has few supervillains. It’s a genre filled with flawed protagonists and faceless corpses. (Aside from Madvillain, the only true rival in unalloyed supervillainy is Eazy-E.) And unlike most great anti-heroes, Madvillain escaped unscathed. They are resolutely shadowy and esoteric, a hieroglyph with a translation open to interpretation. They are unclassifiable and unpredictable: a Saturday morning cartoon with Saturday night sensibilities.
By the time of their fusion, Madlib and MF DOOM had mastered the rules, understood when to break them, and knew how to forget their existence in the first place. Madvillainy is both unmoored from the gravity of its time and a product of its temperature.
- Pitchfork, “Searching for Tomorrow: The Story of Madlib and DOOM’s Madvillainy”