It’s been almost a year since MF DOOM passed away, yet his music continues to inspire. Just ask Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, who has delved deep into DOOM’s celebrated catalog and breathed new life into “Gazzillion Ear.”
The remix, dubbed “Man on Fire,” finds Yorke swapping out the original double-sided J Dilla production for a futuristic beat featuring Pong-like bleeps and whirring synths, taking the Born Like This album cut in an entirely new direction.
The title of the remix may or may not be a cheeky nod to a satirical story from 2019 about an MF DOOM fan who set another man on fire for not spelling the rapper’s name in all caps (“Just remember all caps when you spell the man name,” DOOM famously rapped on Madvillainy‘s “All Caps”).
Yorke’s “Gazzillion Ear” flip comes courtesy of Lex XX, a new remix series celebrating the 20th anniversary of Lex Records. MF DOOM released five projects on the London-based label, including 2009’s Born Like This.
This new “Man on Fire” remix is the second time Thom Yorke has put his spin on MF DOOM’s “Gazzillion Ear”; he previously flipped the song with fellow Radiohead member Nigel Godrich as part of the Gazzillion Ear EP, released back in 2010.
DOOM and Yorke also linked up on the 2011 track “Retarded Fren” alongside Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood. The pair were even planning to record a full album together at one point.
Following the news of MF DOOM’s death in December 2020, Thom Yorke took to Twitter to pay tribute to the masked rapper and producer.
“I am so sad to hear MF Doom’s passing,” he wrote. “He was a massive inspiration to so many of us, changed things.. for me the way he put words was often shocking in it’s [sic] genius, using stream of consciousness in a way i’d [sic] never heard before …”
MF DOOM unexpectedly passed away in October 2020, but in typical DOOM fashion, his death wasn’t announced to the public until New Year’s Eve.
Tributes to the late underground legend quickly poured in, with everyone from Yasiin Bey (f.k.a. Mos Def) and Lupe Fiasco to Tyler, The Creator and Playboi Carti mourning his death and celebrating his legacy.
Even DOOM’s adopted hometown of Long Beach, New York has recognized his achievements by naming a street after him: the “KMD – MF DOOM Way,” which runs on East Hudson Street between Long Beach Boulevard and Riverside Boulevard.