The late '90s and early '00s were rap's commercial glory years, a time when every rapper with a distinctive, marketable style managed to cross over in some way or another. (After all, what was Del Tha Funkee Homosapien's collab with Gorillaz but an incredibly unlikely late-career realization of his early commercial potential?) There were plenty of underground artists and crews whose overarching sounds were distinctive (think Def Jux; Anti-Pop Consortium; Rhymesayers). But few rappers were also very distinctive stylists as rappers. But there was one major exception.
MF Doom was in a league of his own. This was true during his time in the group KMD through his re-emergence in the wake of Subroc's death as the metal-faced villain in the late 1990s. Critical attention reached its nexus in 2003, when he released three albums under three different pseudonyms: Madvillainy, King Geedorah, and Viktor Vaughn. They remain three of the most unique-sounding records in hip-hop history, each a variation on the unconventional sound Doom pioneered on 1999's Operation: Doomsday, which built upon a series of solo 12"s.
Of late, the sound Doom brought to the world has had a comeback. Never has that been more evident than in the music of Odd Future. Recently, Earl's Doris had a familiar sound, as Earl's low-key delivery over sparse jazz loops revived a sound reminiscient of Doom's golden era.