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JJ DOOM

Key to the Kuffs

JJ DOOM
Underground rap legend MF Doom was exiled to England in 2010 over a customs mix-up. The return to his birthplace provides loose inspiration for Doom's ninth album, Key to the Kuffs, crafted with open-minded Atlanta producer Jneiro Jarel. Jarel's production boasts a kaleidoscopic range, from throbbing electronica (the Damon Albarn-assisted "Bite The Thong"), hyperactive 808 bounce ("Wash Your Hands") and the soothing strings of "Winter Blues," a sweet ode to the wife he left behind. On "Banished," Jarel's cartoony, throbbing dub sets Doom off on a rare, dextrous double-time flow. These days the rapper's free-associative verbal diarrhoea lacks the force it held circa-Madvillainy; the album's best songs hew to a topic, from the hilarious, self-explanatory "Wash Your Hands" to Doom's dissection of genetically modified food on "GMO," backed by Portishead's Beth Gibbons. Though Key hosts the padding typical of latter day Doom, the highlights bode well for Madvillainy 2. Say hi to the bad guy, the super-villain's back in town. (Lex)
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