Figaro Side: A Look at MF Doom Live

Harold Stallworth owns several copies of Masta Killa’s live album. During the filming of the first three seasons of Louie, the show’s lead, Louis C.K., never rehearsed his lines beforehand. He...
By    March 5, 2014


Harold Stallworth owns several copies of Masta Killa’s live album.

During the filming of the first three seasons of Louie, the show’s lead, Louis C.K., never rehearsed his lines beforehand. He subscribes to the theory that intense repetition compromises the authenticity of a theatrical performance; that practice, does not in fact, always make perfect. In short, you know you’re doing it right when the lines fall from your lips at a different angle with each take.

I’m not exactly sure how such a theory translates to a live rap performance, seeing as how unless you’re a freestyler of the Supernatural variety, or shameless enough to lug around your rhyme book à la Canibus, memorizing lyrics is a requisite element of emceeing. But MF Doom has always had a Louis-esque way of refurbishing his own rhymes, manipulating inflections and emphasizing certain words to give his music an entirely new texture. The original and remastered versions of “Dead Bent,” “Kookies,” and “Angels” are fraternal twins, born from the same idea, yet readily distinguishable. For that reason, I highly recommend Doom’s live album, Expektoration.

This clip, however, was pulled from a 2004 performance in Washington D.C.’s storied 9:30 Club. Doom performs “Figaro Figaro” alongside Big Ben Klingon less than three months after the release of Madvillainy. There’s a masterful swing on display, particularly at frame 1:14, that separates Doom from his army of dry, robotic offspring.

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