4. KMD - Mr. Hood (1991)
For a DOOM fan, finding Mr. Hood is comparable to what finding One Foot In The Grave is to a Beck fan: An idol has delivered flawless production and trailblazing songwriting for years, and then your shovel thuds into a buried chest. He made this? First?
Mr. Hood is the first of two releases from KMD, DOOM's first rap group. It was 1991. Everyone involved was very young: DOOM went by Zev Love X, and Onyx The Birthstone Kid replaced Rodan, who would leave the group before Mr. Hood to finish high school.
Be careful in there: Mr. Hood overwhelms, as three very capable young rappers deliver an hour's worth of music, with little filler and incisively playful, political sampling throughout. On the skits, Zev and the other members of KMD banter in white-sounding voices from language-learning tapes. It's got the jazz samples, the pride, and the unflagging bounce of New York in the early '90s: KMD sounds straight out of a montage in a Spike Lee movie.
We hear DOOM before DOOM. He raps on all but two songs, lyrically overflowing and already with a twisted tongue, but steeped like his peers in Five Percenter and Golden Age hip hop positivity. There's a lot of sarcasm and a lot of thinking about the young black man in America, but none of the theatrical distance or menace of all subsequent Metal Face projects. It's an amazing nugget that allows what I had thought impossible years ago: an honest look at the beginnings of an illegible, irreverent saboteur.