Rating: Before DOOM, before Viktor Vaughn and King Gheedorah, before the myriad collabs with the likes of Madlib and Dangermouse and Jneiro Jarel and Bishop Nehru (and the still unreleased one with Ghostface Killah), before there were DOOM impostors, before DOOM was still stylised ‘MF Doom,’ before even the mysterious performances in the Nuyorican Poets Cafe by a masked emcee, before all that…there was Zev Love X and KMD. And thereby hangs a tragic tale of a rap group on the rise in the late 80s/ early 90s golden era who, on the verge of greatness as their second LP was about to drop in ’93 lost Zev’s younger brother and KMD’s DJ, Subroc, in a car accident. Naturally, label Elektra showed their sympathy by dropping the band and shelving the album claiming controversial cover art – though the name alone, not to mention the lyrical content pulled no punches. That LP was Black Bastards, or BL_CK B_ST_RDS as it appeared on a cover featuring a lynched black caricature which ended up being bootlegged until an official release in 2000. By which time, Zev, born Daniel Dumile, had licked his wounds and had already dropped his first official release as MF Doom a year previously.
Thirty years on and just under three years since DOOM’s death, Metalface Records and Rhymesayers Entertainment re-release Bl_ck B_st_rds on vinyl with a deluxe red vinyl variant. The LP features production from both Dumile and Subroc along with additional vocal appearances from MF Grimm, Lord Sear and Kurious and it stands right up there with the classics of the era. What sets KMD apart immediately though is the way they managed to combine the sort of production style and lyrical humour you might also find on material of the era from De La Soul, Black Sheep and Brand Nubian while rocking lyrics that hit every bit as hard as those of Boogie Down Productions and Public Enemy. If you’re new to KMD, head straight for Sweet Premium Wine or the monkey’s favourite Stop Smokin That Sh*t – you’re in for a treat. This release is accompanied by the simultaneous re-release of the debut MF Doom LP, Operation Doomsday.
(Out 31 March on Metalface Records/ Rhymesayers Entertainment)