April 29, 2013

On paper, the pairing of MF DOOM and Clams Casino should produce the proper blend of special herbs. The former is the Supervillain enigma supposedly stranded in Europe for the last several years. The latter makes music ostensibly designed to soundtrack peat bog ceremonies for the dead (conducted by the Based God). The knock on Clams is that he hasn’t given his beats to the best rappity rappers, opting for B, Soulja Boy and the occasional sliver thrown to A$AP Rocky — who discovered that mild complaints about stardom and double-timed drug boasts work great over Clams’ cloud rap.

DOOM has classic records, massive influence, and a mask that will inevitably wind up in the Smithsonian. The Madvillain project continues to be even more influential today than the day it dropped. He should be the best candidate to prove the Clams slander false. But “Bookfiend” ends up being little more than a fine track that’s slightly boring. Clams creates mercury mood music. When your head feels overcast, your body feels like it’s about to breakdown. The vocal samples are always engaging in some sort of post-Burial whale wail. The drums seem drugged. It’s codeine music for when you actually have a cold.

That isn’t the mood that DOOM conjures. His mysteries aren’t Delphic, they’re cartoonish. The word play here is nice and no one needs to knock Daniel Dumile for not saying shit. Triple word score for dropping Tetragrammaton, the name of God in the original Hebrew Bible. DOOM is being DOOM. There are He-Man puns and Netflix advice. With him laying low over the last few years, this is a welcome return. But it’s hard not to hear this and hope for something more, or wonder if he’s all out of ale. It’s another reminder that rap is less mathematics than chemistry.  These fantasy draft pairings rarely work. If you don’t believe me, go ask Wu-Block or the Lakers.

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