Cork's arts community pays tribute to late rapper MF DOOM

Graffiti artists, DJs and producers all pay homage to the self-styled Supervillain of hip-hop
Cork's arts community pays tribute to late rapper MF DOOM

A graffiti piece made in honour of the late rapper and producer MF DOOM, visible on Ferry Walk, next to Fitzgerald's Park, Cork. Pic: Trixy

Who was MF DOOM?

After a 2020 fraught with social, economic and political trauma, music fans around the world were stunned by one final salvo of bad news on New Year's Eve: the announcement of the passing of British-born and American-raised Daniel Dumile, better known to many as rapper and producer MF DOOM, among his other aliases.

Emerging in the late '90s from personal tragedy and professional disaster after the death of brother and collaborator SubRoc, MF DOOM was equally renowned for his rowdy humour and scholarly approach to pop-culture. 

His unique voice, and at-times disarming technical ability with rhymes, endeared him to genre enthusiasts the world over. 

This sensibility as a rapper was perfectly complimented by idiosyncratic solo and collaborative production work, delving into a range of musical and cinematic samples as the basis for beats that would prove to be influential in the genre. 

His own cult following grew throughout the late '90s and 2000s as a result, including appearances in animated sitcoms, and merchandise deals, including a Nike skateboarding shoe now prized among collectors.

MF DOOM. Picture: Instagram
MF DOOM. Picture: Instagram

Tributes from Leeside

It's no surprise, then, that Cork's music and street art scenes, responded with tributes of their own, in the worlds of DJing, production and graffiti.

In the days following the announcement of DOOM's passing, veteran Cork DJ Justin O'Donnell, better known as JusMe, constructed and uploaded ALL CAPS, a tribute mix for the wordsmith, mixing classic tracks from the breadth of his body of work with the original songs sampled, as well as snippets of his beloved Saturday-morning Marvel cartoons.

  • Stream JusMe's ALL CAPS tribute mix on Mixcloud.

This long-form review of DOOM's work prompted creativity of another kind in an artist who was hit hard by the rapper's passing.

Cork-based graffiti artist Trixy took to the walls of Ferry Walk, next to Fitzgerald's Park and near the newly-reopened Shakey Bridge, to pay homage to the self-styled Villain.

The graffiti piece in progress, made in honour of the late rapper and producer MF DOOM. Pic: Trixy
The graffiti piece in progress, made in honour of the late rapper and producer MF DOOM. Pic: Trixy

Over the course of six hours, he constructed a fitting visual tribute with spray paint, improvising in the style of the man himself.

"It was designed first as a sketch on paper, listening to Justin’s tribute mix, and then slightly tweaked to fit the wall.

"For the character, I didn’t reference an exact image of MF DOOM, it’s a loose take on him in my own style, with the large DOOM letters meant to be the focal point of the piece.

"The lyric on the bottom is a sample from his song Doomsday."

Trixy went on to draw connections between this tribute and DOOM's own links to the worlds of street art and graphic design.

"He did graffiti himself, he hid his identity and his artwork for many albums, his logo and even his actual mask, were all designed by a friend of his..the famous New York graffiti writer Keo.

"So there has been a big outpouring of tributes and sadness from a lot of graffiti writers."

A section of the graffiti piece made in honour of the late rapper and producer MF DOOM. Pic: Trixy
A section of the graffiti piece made in honour of the late rapper and producer MF DOOM. Pic: Trixy

The musical tributes have continued in the fortnight since DOOM's passing was announced. 

Cork producer Robert O'Halloran, known in hip-hop circles as Jar Jar Jr., got his big online break appending acapella rhymes of the rapper's to his own lo-fi, jazz-informed beatmaking. 

Fanmade music videos featuring his work have racked up hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, and provided a springboard to wider attention for his own music.

In tribute to one of his major inspirations, O'Halloran this week released one final collection of homemade creations, remix album MF DESSERT, a play on the rhymes found on DOOM's seminal MM FOOD long-player.

"This is a remix of the full album assembled between January 1 and 9. 

"I wish I had the time to have explored the many avenues this project could have went down, but it was more important to get it out," wrote O'Halloran in the release's YouTube upload.

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