JJ DOOM //

KEY TO THE KUFFS (Lex Records)

16/20

In a recent interview, DOOM compared his musical affinity with the diverse hip- hop artist Jneiro Janel to his collaborative work with Madlib. Although Key To The Kuffs can’t quite match the quality of 2004’s classic Madvillainy, DOOM’s decision to allocate production duties to Janel proves well informed.

Backed by the epic stomp of Rhymin Slang, DOOM’s flow is packed with an authoritative punch. On Banished, Janel sets up a turbo paced beat and DOOM steps up to the challenge in exhilarating fashion. The rhymes are crammed with double entendres, surreal analogies, sharp details and ironic wisecracks loaded with aggression. Thematically, the English vernacular reoccurs, owing to DOOM’s enforced two year residency in London. He’s ambivalent about the circumstances; on one hand the capital has inspired a creative drive, yet he vents on Borin Convo and yearns for physical contact with his wife on Winter Blues.

Never hesitatant to call bullshit on the dark ways of the music industry, DOOM is frank about getting his hands dirty, arguing that the Faustian pact is justified as long as the quality of his music doesn’t diminish. DOOM has made a habit of subverting hip-hop stereotypes and on Key To The Kuffs, even after being in the game for so long, he still hasn’t faded into irrelevance, evading one of the genre’s most tragic clichés.

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Words: David Reed

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