EXCLUSIVE – When MF DOOM’s death was announced on December 31, 2020, Hip Hop fans found it difficult to wrap their heads around. He’d just done a new song with Thundercat and Flying Lotus called “Lunch Break” for Grand Theft Auto V and a KMD reunion track had arrived in 2017 with talks of an official album.
Nobody expected to learn he’d actually passed away two months prior to the shocking announcement.
Needless to say, the news of DOOM’s death shook the Hip Hop community to its core and tribute murals dedicated to the elusive MC started popping up all over the world. Additionally, a petition was started to get a street in Long Beach, New York named after DOOM né Daniel Dumile.
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Dr. Patrick C. Graham, who attended Long Beach High School with DOOM, crafted the petition on behalf of the KMD-MF DOOM Way Committee.
The petition requested the City of Long Beach, where MF DOOM spent his formative years, rename the East Hudson Street block between Riverside Boulevard and Long Beach Road “KMD-MF DOOM Way.” According to Dr. Graham, the City Council has approved the proposal and DOOM will now officially have his own street.
“I had several community members contact me to see if I could get engaged with it,” Dr. Graham tells HipHopDX over the phone. “I used to run the Martin Luther King Center there, so I still have a close connection to the community. I was born and raised there, went to high school with Dumile. So I said give me a minute and I’ll craft a letter to the City Council based on how I see it and then converted that letter into a petition. The group said they loved it and we moved forward.
“I’m just happy this is happening because it’s not only a victory for Dumile’s legacy, but it’s also about showing that community our generation. It is a way for people to see a symbol of our generation and our impact, particularly in a community that’s gentrifying pretty fast.”
“Daniel Dumile, or MF DOOM, left an indelible mark on the music industry and on the lives of people across the globe,” Long Beach City Manager Donna M. Gayden adds. “Long Beach is proud to bestow this honor in his memory and proud that he called our City home.”
Looking back on his high school years with MF DOOM, Dr. Graham remembers a very “shy” student.
“In many ways, he went through the gauntlet of the dozens with a lot of his peers as a young man,” he recalls. “I remember Alonzo, one of his peers from the group KMD, talked about how often times he would avoid people and a lot of times, that was part of his creative process. Outside of it just being a tough place to grow up maybe without as much as others.”
When asked what DOOM would think of the street-naming ceremony, Dr. Graham says with a laugh, “I think he would want to put a mask on the sign and hide still. I think he would eventually understand it is not just about him, but it’s about a legacy of Hip Hop that city must recognize and know had a great influence on the young people who grew up there. It influenced me so much, I wrote my master thesis on Hip Hop.”
He adds, “DOOM represents a brand of sort of metamorphosis over time, just like Malcom X. That’s what his life was in a very short time. Like many before, our stars take off like rockets and fall and disappear just as quick as they came. That’s the sad part, but it’s also what makes them so great that they do things so young.”
For now, the unveiling of the street sign has yet to be scheduled and the City Council hasn’t officially decided on the name.
“Right now, there’s discussion instead of just ‘KMD-MF DOOM WAY,’ there’s going to be some indication of his actual government name. That’s all I knew him as was Dumile [laughs]. They were trying to do it before his birthday, but I feel we shouldn’t rush.”
Check back soon with HipHopDX for more details on MF DOOM’s legacy.