MF DOOM might be gone in the physical sense, but his legacy continues to live on. On Wednesday (July 13), fans flocked to social media to pay tribute to the late rapper/producer on what would have been his 51st birthday.
The iconic masked musician (real name Daniel Dumile) died on October 31, 2020, although the news wasn’t confirmed until three months later on December 31, when his wife alerted fans to his passing on Instagram.
MF DOOM emerged in the late ’80s/early ’90s under the name Zev Love X as one-third of the rap group KMD. However, the group’s trajectory was cut short due to the sudden death of DOOM’s brother and rhyme partner DJ Subroc, as well as their controversial sophomore album Black Bastards being shelved. (The album wouldn’t see the light of day until 2000.)
After a years-long hiatus marked by homelessness and shrouded in mystery, MF DOOM reemerged in the late ’90s with a whole new identity that would come to define his career. Sporting a Gladiator mask and Doctor Doom-inspired alias, he released a score of cult classic albums, including Operation: Doomsday, Mm..Food and Madvillainy, his acclaimed collaboration with Madlib (just one of many rap partnerships and personas he’d go on to explore).
DOOM’s seismic impact on music and pop culture has long been felt since his death, and to celebrate his birthday fans on social media have been sharing stories, tributes, photographs and more in honour of Dumile.
“Happy Birthday to the best emcee with no chain you’ve ever heard, MF DOOM,” one fan wrote on Twitter, sharing one of the late rapper’s Adult Swim promos for his Christmas With DOOM event that aired on December 24, 2006.
Another wrote, “We don’t exist without legends like #MFDOOM. Praise his legacy on his birthday.”
A third fan shared his birthday wishes alongside a series of images of the elusive Hip Hop juggernaut, writing, “Happy Heavenly 51st Birthday to one of my all-time favorite mc’s, the legendary MF DOOM.”
Czarface — the group comprising 7L & Esoteric and Wu-Tang Clan‘s Inspectah Deck, who collaborated with DOOM on his final album, 2018’s Czarface Meets Metal Face — also paid tribute.
“MF DOOM, enjoy your 51st year of immortality,” the group wrote on Twitter. “Happy birthday. On behalf of every artist doing things on their own terms, thank you a gazillion times over [praying hands emoji].”
Their tribute came alongside “a behind the scenes look at Lamour Supreme’s homage to Fantastic Four 82″ by Marvel legend Jack Kirby.
A number of artists have also shared some love for MF DOOM on his birthday, including Jedi Mind Tricks frontman Vinnie Paz and Snowgoons. Check out their tributes alongside more fans messages below.
Earlier this year, it was announced that a biography on MF DOOM is in the works. New York-based publisher Astra House revealed in May it’s acquired the worldwide rights to the book, which is due to be released in 2024.
Written by veteran music journalist S.H. Fernando Jr., The Chronicles of Doom: Unraveling Rap’s Masked Iconoclast is “a sweeping and definitive biography” that will “recount the rise, fall, redemption and untimely demise of one of Hip Hop’s most enigmatic and influential figures.”