mf doom bio

MF Doom Bio

Like many people of my generation who were not quite cool enough to get in on the ground floor, my first introduction to MF Doom was through 2004’s Madvillany, the collaborative album made with producer Madlib. I loved the album, but I’m not sure I fully appreciated its genius.

It wasn’t until several years later while working in the music industry that I began to notice the album’s effect on so many other fans and artists around me. Even today, I’m awed by the scope of MF Doom’s artistic influence. 

MF Doom was best known for his signature metal mask, clever rhyme schemes delivered in a slurred, lo-fi style, and the mark he left on independent hip hop. The brilliant comic book nerd turned mysterious supervillain defied industry standards.

He was funny, honest, and nostalgic, commenting on everything from the mundane to real-world pain and American social politics using clever wordplay and samples from tv and film. Questlove once referred to MF Doom’s music as “therapy for tragedy.” 

By adopting the character MF Doom, the artist, Daniel Dumile, was able to simultaneously exist within and beyond the world, he rapped about. His albums often felt like MF Doom was floating above as an omniscient observer of the hip hop industry and society. 

MF Doom Quick Facts

Full Name Daniel Dumile, Dumile Daniel Thompson
Birth Date July 13, 1971
Birth Place Hounslow, West London, England
Nick Name Zev Love X, DOOM, Metal Face, Metal Fingers, King Geedorah, Viktor Vaughn 
Nationality British
Zodiac Sign Cancer
Siblings Brother: Dingilizwe Dumile aka DJ Subroc (d. April 23, 1993) 


Brother: Dimbaza Dumile

Sister: Thenjiwe Dumile

Children 3, including Malachi Ezekiel Dumile (d. 2017)
Partner / Spouse Jasmine Dumile
Most Successful Songs / Albums Madvillainy, The Mouse & The Mask, BORN LIKE THIS, MM…FOOD, Take Me to Your Leader, Operation: Doomsday
Earnings n/a
Net Worth Approx. $1-2 million
Social Media Instagram Facebook Twitter
Awards n/a
Last Updated April 2022

MF Doom Birthplace

mf doom young

Daniel Dumile, also known as MF Doom, was born in Hounslow, London, on July 13, 1971. (Although his birth certificate states his name as Dumile Daniel Thompson, other records list it as Daniel Dumile, and the latter has been most often used.)

Dumile’s parents were living in New York, and he was conceived in the United States but was born abroad while his mother was visiting family. Dumile returned to New York with his family a month after he was born.

MF Doom Parents

There’s not a lot of recorded information about Dumile’s parents, as the rapper was reasonably private about his personal life. His mother, Ashlyn Dumile (nèe Thompson, born January 8, 1952, died January 31, 2021), was from Trinidad and his father, Daniel J Dumile, was from Zimbabwe.

Dumile mentioned that they separated when he was young, and he and his younger brother lived with their mom as teenagers. Neither of his parents was from the UK, so although Dumile was technically a British citizen, it wasn’t necessarily part of his culture growing up. 

MF Doom Early Life

When Dumile was young, his family bounced around New York before settling in Long Island. Dumile was raised Muslim in the Five Percent Nation. The Islamic and Afro-centric influences of his upbringing are especially apparent in his early music. 

Dumile’s love of comics and cartoons, while present throughout his music career, began in his childhood. He was not a great student but displayed artistic aptitude as a child. He began DJing when he was young and saved up to purchase recording equipment with his brother Dingilizwe. The name “Doom” started as a childhood nickname referencing his last name, Dumile. 

MF Doom Professional Career

KMD 1988 – 1994

MF Doom KMD 1988 - 1994

No villain is complete without an origin story. Dumile’s music career began in the late 80s when he, as a teenager under the moniker Zev Love X, formed the hip hop group KMD (Kausing Much Damage) along with his brother Dingilizwe (DJ Subroc.) They rounded out their group with a friend, Rodan, who was later replaced by Onyx the Birthstone Kid. The group made their recorded debut on the song “The Gas Face” with hip hop group 3rd Bass. 

They were met with some initial underground success and changed their name to mean “A Positive Kause in a Much Damaged Society.” They were subsequently signed to Elektra Records and released their debut album, Mr. Hood, in 1991.

The album was made up of songs about adolescence, racism, inequality, and stereotypes and was punctuated with samples from children’s shows. It successfully walked the line between playful youth and social maturity and launched three singles, including the most popular “Peachfuzz.”

In 1993 as the group was finishing up their second album, Black Bastards, Subroc was struck and killed by a car while crossing the Long Island Expressway. Dumile finished the album without his brother and played it in its entirety over a boombox at the wake. Later that year, Elektra refused to release the album over a dispute surrounding its controversial cover. KMD was dropped from the label.

Black Bastards wasn’t officially released until 2000, after Operation: Doomsday. Many point to it as the missing link between the contrasting tones of the playful Mr. Hood and considerably darker Operation: Doomsday

Sabbatical, The Years After KMD 1994 – 1997

Dumile spent the next several years on hiatus from the hip hop scene, saying that during this time, he was “practically homeless.” He bounced back and forth between New York and Georgia before finally settling in Atlanta, where his family had relocated. 

The Rise and Reign of MF Doom 1997 – 2009

In the late 1990s, Dumile began making appearances at open mic nights in New York, always with a stocking over his face. He eventually segued this anonymity into the masked supervillain persona, MF Doom. The character of MF Doom was inspired in part by the Marvel villain, Doctor Doom, and was never seen without his signature metal mask. 

MF Doom’s artistic style lacked the bouncy positivity of KMD but maintained some of their playfulness. He rejected the violence and foul language that so many of his contemporaries gravitated towards in favor of clever wordplay and unexpected film and tv samples. 

Dumile always maintained that MF Doom was a character and would often speak and rap about him in the third person. 

Operation: Doomsday


MF Doom’s first solo album, Operation: Doomsday, was released in April of 1999 and was an underground success, often referred to as one of the most influential albums in the history of independent hip hop.

The album is known for its lo-fi production and cartoon and smooth jazz samples. The whole thing is intertwined with Dumile’s signature close rhyme schemes and slurred, raspy voice. The tracks range from melancholy to downright sinister.

Special Herbs & Spices

In 2001, Dumile began releasing his Special Herbs instrumental series under the name Metal Fingers. The series would continue for another five years. On a personal note: Special Herbs makes excellent background music while you’re writing! 

Take Me to Your Leader, Vaudeville Villain

In 2003, Dumile released two albums, Take Me to Your Leader, and Vaudeville Villain, under two new personas, King Geedorah and Viktor Vaughn, respectively. Take Me to Your Leader was an idiosyncratic hip-hop album featuring members of the Monsta Island Czars collective. It managed to provide a successful but not heavy-handed socio-political commentary from the perspective of a three-headed monster from space. 

The time-traveling character Viktor Vaughn was named after Doctor Doom’s real name in the Marvel comics, Victor Von Doom. He’s something of a foil to MF Doom — a darker version of an already dark character. Dumile’s characters would often jump in to lend verses on each others’ albums. It was his clever way of showing conflicting viewpoints without being called out for hypocrisy.


Madvillainy, created with producer Madlib under the name Madvillain, was Dumile’s mainstream breakthrough. The album was recorded over two years and released in March of 2004. It’s often referred to as MF Doom’s masterpiece.



MM…FOOD (an anagram of Mf Doom) is still an industry favorite album. It’s a double entendre laced concept album about food. VV:2 brought back the Viktor Vaughn character and was one of Dumile’s least successful albums. Both were released in 2004 following Madvillainy

The Mouse & The Mask

In 2005, MF Doom collaborated with producer DJ Danger Mouse (under the group name Danger Doom) to create The Mouse & The Mask. They developed the album along with Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, and it features appearances by characters from shows such as Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Harvey Birdman. 


BORN LIKE THIS, released in 2009, was Dumile’s last solo album. It was also his first solo album to chart in the US. It’s darker and grittier than his previous albums. By this time, Dumile had a habit of sending imposters in his mask to pose as DOOM (as he was now styled) at press events and to lip-synch shows, much to his audience’s displeasure. When confronted about it, he quickly reminded people that DOOM was a supervillain and capable of deception. 

The London Years 2010 – 2020

Dumile moved to London in 2010 after being denied re-entry into the US following a European tour. He released several collaborative albums from his new home base, including Key to the Kuffs with producer Jneiro Jarel, NehruvianDoom with Bishop Nehru, and Czarface Meets Metal Face with hip hop group Czarface. 

MF Doom Video 

3rd Bass — The Gas Face

Madvillain — Rhinestone Cowboy


MF Doom Family 

Dumile began dating his future wife, Jasmine, during his hiatus from performing. Although he kept most of his personal life private, it has been reported that he had three children. While Dumile struggled with his immigration status, he spent the better part of two years apart from his family, communicating through video chat or on brief visits when they could venture to London from their home in Atlanta. The song “Winter Blues” from Keys to the Kuffs is about Dumile’s longing for his wife. In 2012 Jasmine and the children finally joined him in London.

Dumile’s son, Malachi Ezekiel Dumile, died in 2017 at the age of 14. A cause of death was never reported. 

MF Doom Immigration Struggle


The US immigration system was, perhaps, one of the greatest nemeses MF Doom would ever encounter. Dumile was conceived in the United States, but was born in London while his mother was traveling to visit family.

His family brought him back to New York a month after he was born, and he continued living in the US for most of his life, but because he wasn’t born in the US or to US citizen parents, he was not a US citizen. 

Dumile’s mother reportedly filed a relative petition for Dumile when he was three years old, but never followed it up with a petition for permanent residency, which is typically considered to be the next step in the process towards citizenship. It’s possible that at the time she didn’t have the money that was required to file the petition. 

In 2004, Dumile had an encounter with immigration while trying to enter the US from Toronto. He was eventually allowed reentry and told he needed to sort out his immigration status. He applied for permanent residency later that year, but was formally denied in 2005. 

Following an international tour, Dumile was denied reentry into the United States in 2010. He eventually seceded his battle with the US immigration system and settled in London, where he was later joined by his wife and children.

MF Doom Death

Dumile died on October 31, 2020 at the age of 49. His death wasn’t made public until December 31, 2020 when his wife, Jasmine Dumile, posted about it on social media. A cause of death was never disclosed.

MF Doom Famous Quotes 

  • “The villain always returns” 
  • “Doom is an ill character – he’s going to be around forever. I look up to that dude.”
  • “If Hip Hop is all about bragging and boasting, then I’m going to make the illest character who can brag about all kinds of s—. Like, why not? It’s all your imagination – go as far as you want.”
  • “A visual always brings a first impression. But if there’s going to be a first impression, I might as well use it to control the story. So why not do something like throw a mask on?”
  • “I make hip hop but use DOOM as a character to convey stories that a normal dude can’t. You have writers that write about crazy characters, but that doesn’t mean that the writer himself is crazy.”
  • “I’m always trying to show versatility. I’m juggling, and I’m flipping fire, and I’m chewing gum and rhyming at the same time…on a unicycle while playing the drums.”

MF Doom Discography & Full Credits 

Solo Albums

Title Release Date Label
Operation: Doomsday April 20, 1999 Fondle ‘Em
Take Me to Your Leader 


(as King Geedorah)

June 17, 2003 Big Dada
Vaudeville Villain


(as Viktor Vaughn)

September 16, 2003 Sound Ink Records


(as Viktor Vaughn)

August 3, 2004 Insomniac, Inc
MM…FOOD November 16, 2004 Rhymesayers Entertainment


(as DOOM)

March 19, 2009 Lex Records Ltd

Collaborative Albums

Title Collaborator(s) Release Date Label
Mr. Hood


(as Zev Love X)

KMD May 14, 1991 Elektra
Black Bastards


(as Zev Love X)

KMD May 15, 2000 Readyrock Records


(as Madvillain)

Madlib March 24, 2004 Stones Throw Records
Special Herbs + Spices Volume 1 MF Grimm May 11, 2004 Day by Day Records
The Mouse & The Mask


(as Danger Doom)

Danger Mouse October 11, 2005 Epitaph Records
Key to the Kuffs


(as JJ Doom)

Jneiro Jarel August 20, 2012 Lex Records Ltd


(as NehruvianDoom)

Bishop Nehru October 7, 2014 Lex Records Ltd
Czarface Meets Metal Face Czarface March 30, 2018 Silver Age
Super What? Czarface May 7, 2021 Silver Age

Instrumental Albums

Title Release Date Label
Special Herbs, Vol. 1 2001 Female Fun
Special Herbs, Vol. 2 January 1, 2001 High Times
Special Herbs, Vol. 3 2002 Female Fun
Special Herbs, Vol. 4 September 23, 2003 Nature Sounds
Special Herbs, Vols. 4, 5, &6 November 24, 2003 Shaman Works
Special Blends, Vols. 1 & 2 2004 Metal Face Records
Special Herbs, Vols. 5 & 6 March 23, 2004 Nature Sounds
Special Herbs, Vols. 7 & 8 September 21, 2004 Shaman Works
Special Herbs, Vols. 9 & 0 July 12, 2005 Shaman Works
Special Herbs: The Box Set Vol 0-9 January 24, 2006 Nature Sounds


Question: What does the MF in MF Doom stand for?

Answer: The MF in MF Doom stands for Metal Face, and is a nod to the rapper’s metal mask.

Question: When did MF Doom die?

Answer: MF Doom died on October 31, 2020, though his death wasn’t reported until December 31, 2020. A cause of death was never given.

Question: When did MF Doom move to America?

Answer: Although Mf Doom was born in London, his family was living in America and brought him back to New York with them a month after he was born in 1971.

Final Thoughts

Q-Tip once called MF Doom “your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper,” and I can’t think of a better way to describe him and the scope of his influence. He was wholly original. MF Doom didn’t so much break rules as he did rise above them. I think that his influence will be apparent for a long time. As Dumile said, “he’s going to be around forever.” 

Research Citations

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