Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Danger Doom Has Fun On The Mouse And The Mask

Danger Doom is a hip-hop collaboration that seems too good to be true. The Danger portion is Danger Mouse, the hot producer behind the classic bootleg The Grey Album and most recently, the current Gorillaz album Demon Days. The Doom portion is MF Doom, the prolific, multiple moniker rapper who is also part the duo Madvillain with producer Madlib. These two (who previously worked together on the song "November Has Come" from Demon Days) have decided to join forces and create an album inspired by Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block. "Inspired By" albums tend to be pretty bad as anyone who has bought a pseudo-soundtrack to a film can attest. However, The Mouse And The Mask is very good and filled with the same goofy, intelligent sensibilities that permeate the comedies on Adult Swim.

Danger Mouse provides a variety of great beats throughout the 14 tracks on The Mouse And The Mask. Slight violin samples power "Sofa King," whose title should signal the type of humor found on the disc. Old-school horns are the backdrop for "The Mask" which features a great guest appearance by Ghostface Killah. "Benzie Box," featuring Cee-Lo on the hook, has a beat that wouldn't have been out of place on Demon Days.

MF Doom, as always, does not disappoint with his performance on this album. Using little to no profanity (likely required because of the association with Cartoon Network), Doom creates some clever and hilarious lyrics. In "Basket Case," Doom is Harvey Birdman's nutty client. Doom relentlessly makes fun of Space Ghost Coast To Coast in the hilarious "Space Ho's" while Talib Kweli's verse outshines Doom's in "Old School."

Various characters from the Adult Swim comedies make appearances throughout the album. Master Shake of Aqua Teen Hunger Force shows up on multiple songs in a parody of the "answering machine message" cliche present on a lot of hip-hop albums. Space Ghost is none too happy to have Doom invade his show on "Space Ho's" and Brak breaks into song at the end of "The Mask." Meatwad of Aqua Teen Hunger Force gets to fulfill his hip-hop dreams at the end of "Bada Bing" and the cast of Sealab 2021 talk about nicknames ("black" Debbie) on "No Names."

The Mouse And The Mask is a fun album that doesn't pretend to be avant-garde or anything it's not. Like the Adult Swim comedies that inspired it, it mines a lot out of a little (it's only about 40 minutes long). MF Doom has recently mentioned that he wants to rap from the perspective of the cartoon characters on the next Danger Doom album. Given how this first album turned out, I can't wait to hear what he and Danger Mouse come up with next.

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