Strange Ways: The Eternal Influence of MF DOOM

MF DOOM's influence continues generation to generation. Aminé, Bas, Westside Gunn, and more current MCs explain how the masked legend inspired them.

P&P Original

Image by Sho Hanafusa


Everyone has an MF DOOM story. My discovery happened in the most authentic, aux cord-adjacent way when I was 19. In the middle of an intense ass-whooping in NBA 2K12, my roommate paused the game to skim through songs to put through his hilariously loud speaker, stopping on something sinister set to a thumping bass drum—and an accordion. A rapper emerged with a villainous voice, determined to make me reckon with my time on this Earth and how cheesy Doritos, Fritos, and Cheetos were. Now me and my friends, we’d just finished listening to some songs that were popular at the time; stuff that didn’t have the mettle that this had. I was floored. Pausing the game two minutes later, I asked him what the hell he’d put on. Laughing, he said, “You’ve never heard of MF DOOM?”

For the next few weeks, I got up to speed on who was, and is, still widely considered one of the best MCs ever—and one of the most important cultural safeguards for the genre’s unrelenting creative magnitudes. I never became a DOOM historian, but his songs are what I return to when I need a jolt of evil air. Whenever I’d heard enough autotuned bullshit to make me want to vomit, I’d seek out a dose of his medicine to make me grimace and realize that hip-hop was best in the gutter. The best way to describe how he made me feel is deep, sorrowful, and intense—while smiling at the same time. 

MF DOOM’s wife revealed in December that the legend, born Daniel Dumile, had died months before, striking a massive hole in the center of hip-hop. MF DOOM, who had been leaving masterful ransom notes for the genre since the release of 1999’s Operation: Doomsday and all the way up until Czarface Meets Metal Face in 2018, was gone. 

No matter if you’d heard one song from MF DOOM, or you’d heard all of them, one thing remained clear: when the world went right, DOOM went left. Aside from being a rapping mastermind with the kind of flow that let him stumble into thickets of mind-melting alliteration, he let it be known that he existed to create art that was against the establishment—a foundational element of hip-hop. No matter the latest trend or fad in rap, you can always return to MF DOOM’s catalog for a fix of grit that couldn’t be found anywhere else.

Hip-hop legends like Q-Tip, Questlove, and Busta Rhymes all took to social media to pay respects to the hip-hop legend. Having experienced his rise first hand, they were able to speak to the influence that he’s had on the genre—something that artists like Tyler, The Creator and Earl Sweatshirt have been very vocal about over the years. But aside from the aforementioned acts, MF DOOM had a huge impact on a current generation of rappers who are more creative than ever. It’s safe to say that DOOM’s inspiration continues from generation to generation.

We asked six current MCs how the Metal First terrorist inspired them. Long Live MF DOOM.

Kota The Friend


Favorite song: “Rhymes Like Dimes”

How he inspired me: “He was the lyrical genius. I remember the moment my friend put me on to him, just like I remember watching a Mac Miller music video for the first time. MF DOOM had a particular sound and style. He wasn’t trying to be anything except him and that was inspiring. To see someone stand out and be respected by everybody, yet he never followed any industry standards, was awesome. He inspired me to strive for that same kind of legacy. He taught me to never let your vision suffer trying to be something that you are not.”



Favorite song: “Rhymes Like Dimes”

How he inspired me: “I actually sampled ‘Accordion’ on my album Too High To Riot on a song titled ‘Black Owned Business.’ I also pay homage on ‘Pinball’ with, “a lot of them sound like they inside a talent show / so I give them something to remember like the Alamo,” which is a DOOM bar off ‘Rhymes Like Dimes.’ I wrote a lot of that verse to that beat originally. DOOM is a reminder you don’t need to fit in. You can build your own legend. He was unapologetically original. One of one.”



Favorite song: "Strange Ways"

How he inspired me: “Sending prayers and love to DOOM’s family. He inspired a generation of MCs, including me and many peers. I didn’t grow up on DOOM but I was just starting to really get into his discography last year, so I was hoping to run into him at a random festival or something. Music lives forever so I will continue listening and learning from the legend. My future kids will definitely get put on.”

Nyck Caution

nyck caution

Favorite song: “All Caps” 

How he inspired me: “Before DOOM I didn’t know much about that lane of hip-hop and it just made me think out of the box with how I approached rapping at a young age. His mystique also made him larger than life and almost like a movie character. I don’t know anyone in music who’s been able to accomplish anything to that extent like him.”



Favorite song: “Rhinestone Cowboy”

Quote: “I first heard of MF DOOM when I was 6 or 7 because my brothers used to play ‘Vinca Rosea’ all the time. DOOM inspired me as the original blueprint for this style that I love so much today, as he’s truly a pioneer of the sound. His music to me represented not conforming to what people think you have to be and killing shit in your own unique way. He pulled it off so perfectly and I will respect him eternally for it.”

Westside Gunn

westside gunn

Favorite song: “Gorilla Monsoon”

How he inspired me: “MF DOOM was the only person that was on my bucket list of artists to work with, so when we did WESTSIDEDOOM it was dream come true. His rhyming and his production were top tier and there will never be another like him. He’s the one who made me change FLYGOD to all caps.”