Daniel Dumile (“doom-uh-lay”) is a British born American hip-hop artist who has taken on several stage names in his career, most famously MF DOOM (standing for metal fingers/metal face doom). He has also been known as Zev Love X, King Geedorah, Metal Fingers, Viktor Vaughn, Doom, and has appeared in several collaborative projects such as DANGERDOOM (with Danger Mouse) and Madvillain (with Madlib). Little is known about his personal life.
As Zev Love X he formed the group KMD in 1988 with his younger brother DJ Subroc and another MC called Rodan. When Rodan left the group, Zev found another MC, Onyx the Birthstone Kid, to replace Rodan. A&R rep Dante Ross learned of KMD through the hip-hop group 3rd Bass, and signed the group to Elektra Records. Dumile and KMD's recording debut came on 3rd Bass's song "The Gas Face" from The Cactus Album, followed in 1991 with KMD's album Mr. Hood, which became a minor hit through its singles "Peachfuzz," "Who Me?" and heavy video play on cable TV's Yo! MTV Raps and Rap City.
In 1997, Dumile began freestyling incognito at open-mic events at the Nuyorican Poets Café in Manhattan, obscuring his face by putting a woman's stocking over his head. He meanwhile had taken on a new identity, MF Doom, patterned after and wearing a mask similar to that of Marvel Comics super-villain Doctor Doom, who is depicted rapping on the cover of the 1999 album Operation: Doomsday. The album, in an earlier incarnation, would have been called The Super M.F. Villains according to an interview published in 1998 by hip-hop music culture magazine Ego Trip. Later versions of the mask would be based on a prop mask obtained from the film Gladiator. He wore this mask while performing and isn't photographed without it, except for very short glimpses in videos such as Viktor Vaughn's Mr. Clean, ?, and in earlier photos with KMD.
In 2003, Dumile released the King Geedorah album Take Me to Your Leader. Geedorah is credited as producer, but only appears as an MC on four tracks. The majority of vocal tracks feature guest MCs, and the album features several instrumental montages of sampled vocals from old movies and TV shows—a technique employed on most of Dumile's albums. Later in 2003, Dumile released the LP Vaudeville Villain under the moniker Viktor Vaughn (another play on Doctor Doom, whose "real name" is Victor von Doom). In 2004 he released a follow-up LP under the Viktor Vaughn moniker, Venomous Villain. Later in 2004, the second MF Doom album MM.. Food was released by Minnesota-based label Rhymesayers Entertainment. Doom's first commercial breakthrough came in 2004, with the album Madvillainy, created with producer Madlib under the group name Madvillain.
Although still an independent artist, MF Doom took a bigger step towards the mainstream in 2005 with The Mouse and the Mask, a collaboration with producer DJ Danger Mouse under the group name Danger Doom. The album, released on 11 October 2005 by Epitaph and Lex, was done in collaboration with Cartoon Network's Adult Swim and featured voice-actors and characters from its programs (mostly Aqua Teen Hunger Force). Danger Doom reached #41 on the Billboard 200. In 2005, Doom made an appearance on November Has Come, a track on Gorillaz's 2005 album Demon Days, which reached #6 on the Billboard 200. Doom produced tracks for both of Ghostface Killah's 2006 albums Fishscale and More Fish, it was also announced that the two were working on a collaboration album together as DOOMStarks - then titled Swift & Changeable. Three tracks have been released since the album was announced, Angels, which appeared on a Nature Sounds compilation in late 2006 (another version appears on Doom's 2009 album Born Like This), Victory Laps and Lively Hood (a 2015 Adult Swim single).
In early 2010, he released the Gazzillion Ear EP on Lex which included the Thom Yorke Remix and two mixes by Jneiro Jarel. A further remix by Madvillainz featuring a voice-mail message from Kanye West was released online. The release of the Gazzillion Ear EP coincided with Doom's first ever live performances outside North America. On 5 March 2010, Lex and Sónar presented the first Doom show in London, at The Roundhouse in Camden. The event was the first of many Doom live performances around the world between early 2010 and the present. These shows included the Lex 10th Anniversary show at The Roundhouse with Ghostface Killah and Jneiro Jarel, performances in Europe with Gorillaz, support for Portishead and performances with Jneiro Jarel at Bestival 2012. During this period Doom released some material on labels other than Lex. On 26 May 2010, part of the track Madvillain Paper Mill was released a digital single through Adult Swim. Expektoration, a live Doom album, was released on 14 September 2010 through Gold Dust Media.