5 Things You Didn’t Know About MF DOOM and Madlib’s ‘Madvillainy’

20 years after MF DOOM and Madlib dropped ‘Madvillainy,’ we dug up some facts you might not know about the iconic album.

via Stones Throw Records

MF DOOM and Madlib dropped their classic album Madvilliany exactly 20 years ago. The 22-track project is full of creative rap lyricism at its highest degree, with DOOM using his mad mind to paint lush, distorted pictures over a canvas of Madlib’s obscure samples.

Madvilliany marked an inflection point in the rap underground, gaining widespread attention without bending a knee to commercial sensibilities. Tracks like “All Caps” and “Accordion” perked up the ears of fans on a massive scale, while DOOM’s crooked flows on songs like “Meat Grinder” and “Curls” hypnotized the backpackers, turning Madvillian into a fable, featuring the illest villain to step behind a mic.

“It sounds to me like I just did that shit,” DOOM told Spin in a 2019 interview. “I would do it the same right now if you gave me the same beats. The way I hear it—I don’t listen to it all the time, but maybe every other year I’ll throw it on, or come across an instrumental or something like that. As soon as I hear the beat, it brings back all the lyrics to me.”

Madvilliany is considered by many to be one of the greatest rap albums of all time, and in honor of its 20-year anniversary, we dug up five interesting facts about it that you might not know.

The orange square on the cover was inspired by a Madonna album

The instrument being played in the sample for “Accordion” is not an accordion

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One of Madvilliany’s most iconic songs is “Accordion,” a warbly track that samples Daedulus’ 2002 record “Experience.” Although it sounds like Daedelus is playing the accordion on the sample, he’s actually playing an instrument called the Magnus 391 Electric Chord Organ.

“‘Accordion’ is a juxtaposition, right,” Daedelus told Rolling Stone last year. “‘Accordion’ is not what you imagined to be a part of the hip-hop lexicon of beats, rhymes, and life. It doesn’t exactly fit. MF DOOM could make anything fit into his world.”

The woman singing on “Eye” became Madlib and DOOM’s attorney

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The only non-rap feature on Madvillainy comes from Stacy Epps, who sings through the entirety of “Eye.” Epps revealed on Instagram Live a few years ago that she was just in the car with DOOM, Madlib, and John Robinson in Atlanta when they were playing beats, and DOOM asked her if she wanted to sing on the track. Epps added that she later attended law school in Los Angeles around the same time Madlib was living there, and would eventually represent the two in business matters. She now represents Madlib and DOOM's estates.

It was an early victim of leaks

Madlib sampled 7 different horror movies on “The Illest Villians”

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Madlib is a master at finding obscure samples, and on the intro to Madvilliany he is in his bag. The track samples 7 different horror movies from the 80s and earlier for varying sound effects at different intervals of time. They include: 1989’s The Documented History of the Fabulous Villains, 1931’s Frankenstein, 1957’s I Was a Teenage Frankenstein, 1941’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1957’s I Was a Teenage Werewolf, 1958’s Dracula, and 1942’s The Ghost of Frankenstein. And that’s just the horror movie samples he used in one song.

Bonus: The streams for the album have been increasing every year

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