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Featuring is Okayplayer’s new playlist series celebrating appearances from hip-hop’s most iconic artists. In our latest installment we zero in on MF DOOM’s best guest verses.

On December 31st, 2020 — just hours before the new year — the world learned that MF DOOM, one of the most gifted rappers of the last 30 years, had passed away on Halloween. He was only 49.

The mythologically around DOOM has always been present. He had one of the greatest origin stories in hip-hop history. DOOM started his career as Zev Love X, a member of KMD alongside his brother DJ Subroc. By 1989, Zev Love X had a breakout performance on “The Gas Face,” the hit single off of 3rd Bass’classic The Cactus Album. In 1991 KMD released their debut album Mr. Hood, which had the minor hit “Peachfuzz.”

While recording the follow-up, the much darker Black Bastards, Subroc was killed attempting to cross the 878 Nassau Expressway. Then, weeks before Black Bastards was set to be released in 1994, the album was shelved by Elektra Records, partially due to the controversial artwork, which features a Sambo character.

Zev Love X was soon dropped by the label. 

He spent years in a funk, broke, living in various places throughout the country. He emerged in 1997 with his new DOOM moniker and became insanely prolific. He released a number of classics under the DOOM name — including two in 2004 — and experimented with other monikers, like King Geedorah and Viktor Vaughn. But he was also a frequent collaborator. MF DOOM did verses with real MCs, like De La Soul, Kool Keith, Blu, and more. Rap fans loved DOOM but no one loved DOOM like his fellow MCs. Over the years, master rappers like Sean Price, Yasiin Bey, Earl Sweatshirt, Lupe Fiasco, and more have spoken about what he meant to them as an MC and an artist. The mythology of DOOM lives on.

To honor his 50th birthday, we are doing a Featuring with DOOM, one of the greatest lyricists in hip-hop history. Listen to DOOM’s most essential guest verses below.

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