With both artists active at least a decade prior to its release, Madvillainy is now a bit of mid-career hallmark for Madlib and MF DOOM. Released on March 23, 2004, Madvillainy was the debut for the duo and remains their only original full-length album to date. Several years removed from either DOOM’s Operation: Doomsday debut as well as Madlib and the Lootpack’s first album, Soundpieces: Da Antidote, Madvillainy has since helped to define both artists' careers following its peak position at #179 on the Billboard 200 list.
The album, which clocks in at twenty-two tracks long, was entirely produced by Madlib, with DOOM claiming a co-production credit on the first track alone. Engineered by the duo themselves, executive produced by label boss Peanut Butter Wolf, and designed by Stones Throw stalwart Jeff Jank—responsible for the drawing of Quasimoto as well as the designing of J Dilla’s Stones Throw era works—Madvillainy has lived on as an acclaimed collaborative project.
Madvillain Madvillainy Reviews Revisited
Boasting critical acclaim more than widespread commercial success, Madvillainy was reviewed favorably across platforms and received a perfect five out of five rating from HipHopDX. DX’s review, written a week before the album’s release, ends with a full-out compliment of the highest order. “It truly is 'Strange Ways' when you take a song such as that one and consider that DOOM and Madlib's respective talents are unknown to the masses,” DX’s review reads. “You'd be a fool to think an album as off the wall as this one would ever gain acceptance by the masses, but it is just a shame that artists this dope will never be as celebrated as they should be. Classic albums generally need some time to marinate and gain that status, but fuck it; they didn't follow any guidelines so why should I? Classic, yes I said it. Classic.”
Pitchfork gave the album a 94 out of 100 rating after its release in 2004 calling it “a tense mainstream-meets-indie, avant-meets-antique melee.” “Madvillainy is inexhaustibly brilliant, with layer-upon-layer of carefully considered yet immediate hip-hop, forward-thinking but always close to its roots,” they wrote. “Madlib and DOOM are individually at their most refined here, and together, they've created one of the most exciting blockbuster alliances in the underground to date. Good luck finding a better hip-hop album this year, mainstream, indie, or otherwise.”
The album carries a generated score of 93 out of 100 on the review aggregator Metacritic with high marks from the Village Voice, All Music Guide, Q Magazine, and more.
Madvillainy Singles, Videos, & Remixes
With “America’s Most Blunted” as the album’s first official single, the pair released several other singles and a host of exclusive remix tracks and full-out projects following the initial release. Videos for the album included the James Reitano directed “All Caps,” which is a referenced to the stylized stage name of DOOM, and the Andrew Gura directed “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Accordion.” Both “All Caps” and “Rhinestone Cowboy” are available below.
Despite the lack of any original follow-up album from the duo, Madvillainy has gone on to receive several remix treatments including the full-length Madvillainy 2: The Madlib Remixes. Stones Throw Records has also commissioned Madvillain remixes from producers like Four Tet and Koushik.
Madlib & DOOM Since Madvillainy
Remixes and one-off tracks aside, Madvillain has yet to release an official follow-up to their 2004 debut despite repeated rumors of plans to do so. In 2012, speaking exclusively with HipHopDX, DOOM casually referenced a sequel while speaking on the record collections of producers J Rocc and Madlib. “You know, these niggas got some shit that’s ill as hell that niggas never heard, that’s as ill as any of these old breaks but they just haven’t come to surface yet,” he said. “Watch when you hear the new Madvillain record. It’s almost done.”
Last year, in an interview with Rollingstone.com, Madlib explained that it was up to his reclusive emceeing counterpart to get a sequel to the project released. "I handed all the beats to DOOM years ago, but ever since he's been in Europe, he's been hard to get a hold of...I feel it probably won't happen," he said. “But you never know. I can't sit and wait on that. I did my part."
In an interview with DAZED earlier this year, Madlib updated fans on the process, claiming he’s still in the dark as to DOOM’s progress. “He doesn’t even have to do it; I just want to know where we are at with it because we recorded like, 10, 13 songs, but out of those we probably only used 4, so I want to see how the recordings are going. It’s not close to finished because it has to be a continuation of the last one. It doesn’t have to be better or worse but it has to be a continuation.“
Since Madvillainy, both artists have continued to release music both individually as well as with other artists. Madlib has relentlessly kept up with his Beat Konducta series, a set of instrumental records that finds the producer relying on specific regions for his samples fodder. The producer has also released several emcee-producer collaborations including Liberation with Talib Kweli in 2006 and his most recent effort with Freddie Gibbs this year.
DOOM released his solo sophomore album, Mm.. Food, the same year as Madvillainy and has embarked on his own instrumental series himself. In 2009, DOOM release another solo album with Born Like This, a record that features production from both Madlib and J Dilla. DOOM is currently reportedly planning a release with New York emcee Bishop Nehru. Of the collaboration, DOOM said the project will be "very informative." "As like a compilation of sounds, all of them hold they own weight but as one whole thing, a piece, it's going to be a very informative piece. It's going to be that joint... To me, everything happened organically and it's still going organically, so it's hard to explain it as it's happening. It just is what it is."