"The Mouse and the Mask"
DANGER DOOM (Epitaph)
What's the common ground that brings two of hip-hop's most talented and enigmatic characters, producer Danger Mouse and rapper extraordinaire MF Doom, on this fun album? Why, it's no surprise it's TV cartoons.
In this case, it's specifically Cartoon Network's popular late-night block of programming aptly called "Adult Swim." The stoned hilarity of such off-the-cuff shorts of animated anarchy as "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," "Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast," "Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law" and "Sealab 2021" is the inspiration behind this collaboration. The voice talent from all of these cartoons add the right amount of weird flava to the perfect partnership between the Mouse's playful beats and the baritone Mask's stream-of-conscious word spitting.
While not everything on the album is strictly related to the cartoons, it doesn't detract from the DANGER DOOM concept. The short but sweet "Benzie Box" with guest Cee-Lo is pushed along by a fat, buzzy bass line and sprinkled with electronic tinkles and oscillating woozles. And Doom's verbal delirium is in full effect on "Crosshairs" and "Mince Meat" (as in "I'll make mincemeat out of that beat Mouse").
COURTESY OF CARTOON NETWORK
Frylock, left, Master Shake and Meatwad are just a few of the characters on the Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" that benefit from Danger Mouse and FM Doom's beats.
Talib Kweli trades verses with Doom on the affectionate send-up to Saturday morning cartoons, "Old School": "I was makin' up a miracle flow, over a cereal bowl / And a paused beat from my stereo / Rhymes stronger than Popeye with the spinach / Yeah I'm gangster like the frog on Courageous Cat / and Minute Mouse."
"Adult Swim" fans will love how their favorite cartoon characters get all in the face of the congenial MF Doom. Space Ghost's sidekicks Brak and Zorak take on "The Mask," which also features a cameo from the Wu-Tang Clan's Ghostface Killah. Doom ably defends himself against Harvey Birdman and the loopy Mentok the Mindtaker in "Basket Case." He tries to bond with, shhh!, you know, "the black guy" on "Sealab," Dr. Quentin Q. Quinn, on "No Names." And, unfortunately, Doom fails in his attempt to take over Space Ghost's talk show on the inspired "Space Ho's."
But the guys who really shine are those fast-food anti-heroes from New Jersey, the Aqua Teen Hunger Force and their slobbo human neighbor Karl. After all, as old-school rapper Schooly D always proclaims in their title song, "they're No. 1 in tha 'hood, G." Leave it to Karl and that rollin' Meatwad to truly understand the hip-hop vibe, as is evident on "Sofa King" and "Bada Bing." Master Shake, while clueless, is desperate to show how "down" he is.
Even the ATHF's arch nemesis, those pixilated Mooninites, take a swipe at Doom on a definitely wack "Vats of Urine."
It's only right that the last word is given to Meatwad. On the final hidden track, "Beef Rap," he goes on about the glories and hazards of being on a diet of mystery meat, courtesy of Doom. While he ain't got tha flow of Doom, you gotta like his gumption. Word!