On the last day of 2020 the world was shocked to learn that hip hop’s supervillain, MF DOOM had passed away 2 month’s prior on October 31st.
Shock, disbelief and sadness spread across the community of fans, family and people who loved him.
My story with DOOM started in 2004. I was working on The Beautiful Struggle tour for Talib Kweli and DOOM was the opener. I was rushing around backstage when I saw him and Benn Grimm waiting to go onstage.
“You got a dutch?” I asked him, pushing past Benn who seemed like he was trying to block him. “Nah I don’t have one, he replied, flashing a smile of 18k gold fronts. At that moment, Kweli walks by and says, “Oh you met DOOM, this is my assistant Courtney Brown— Court, you know DOOM is from KMD?’
This was the beginning of a friendship that would forever influence my life.
Not much long after our initial meeting we became road buddies and I came to know the author Daniel Dumile. After watching me problem solve on the road for Kweli, he asked me to work for him and his wife Jasmine once that tour ended. They both taught me how to navigate the business world as well as helped with my personal growth.
DOOM was a teacher and to be in his circle you had to study. He would send countless 4 hour lectures and sign books that he felt were pertinent to my growth.
Once his mask was removed, he revealed he was thoughtful… full of curiosity, kindness and unusual talent. He treated me like a queen in an industry that took advantage of women. He didn’t act like a rapper because as he said that wasn’t even him. He would run errands, helped with my goals and always knew how to fix everything. He inconspicuously took the train from NYC in a snowstorm to Jersey Shore to help us pack up my granny’s 7 bedroom house for sale. Even though he just released his classic album MM…FOOD , he trooped through the snow walking from the train to our house in Neptune, NJ because no cars were available. We stayed up all night talking about everything under the sun as he meticulously wrapped heirlooms inquiring about each item.
I moved to LA to assist him as he worked on DangerDOOM. During that time we spent a lot of time finding inspiration for that album and hanging out with my best friend at the time Kelis and her husband, rapper Nas. One day after a bougie LA dinner I convinced them to come back to my hotel room where DOOM put on some beats and Nas began freestyling. This lasted nearly an hour. DOOM had his Special Herbs CD on him and it was a historical moment not captured on camera or recorded.
Eventually my job description grew as I became a part of his ‘entourage’ but DOOM was a villain and there was always more to be revealed. When I began writing he supported that too—demanding I write many of his cover stories including his FRANK 151 cover.
One day he instructed me to do an entire press day with what he called a ‘robot’ and later I found out it would be Benn Grimm. (He was full of surprises.)
He told me not to let ANYONE in the room except the journalists for the interviews and the photographers to take photos. I was scared shitless. We were shooting a cover with a fake DOOM. I had on my best business ensemble and issued a lot of ‘no’s’ that day. We made it through that day until a woman who knew him and demanded to speak to him kept pressuring to enter the room.
Busted. We stayed up that night with him and Jas in Atlanta and me in New York writing the perfect editorial for Elemental Magazine who was pretty upset.
He and I together composed the perfect words to explain his tactics. And Jas, always loving and fair, paid me handsomely for my work. They both respected my pen. We moved back to LA to work on MADVILLAIN 2 and that album is the greatest album no one has heard yet. Built off a lot of crazy experiences and real life situations he turned into songs, he put a lot of work into that record. Although he didn’t complete it, he felt masterpieces should not be rushed. One song we researched for weeks which came from a weird news story I told him about in New York. We laughed about it for nearly 2 hours before the intense research began. We called it the ‘monkey song’. He recorded a few songs with Ghostface during that time and he was one of the few rappers I could get to change lyrics which is why there are 2 versions of Angels.
I could go on for eternity with stories, memories and lessons I learned from the supervillain.
He was very strategic and placed things and people where he wanted them to be. He knew what he was doing.
Many might wonder why I would reveal so much. DOOM often talked about not being here and of course I would shrug it off. He emphatically told me, “If I’m not here anymore, you better tell that story. I’d rather it be you then anybody. Villain!”
Maybe one day, I will.
Rest in Power DOOM.
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