It’s undeniable to conclude that KMD’s sophomore effort Black Bastards is as aggressive as N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton and sonically rugged as Wu-Tang’s Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers. When I first discovered “Black Bastards” I had no idea of KMD and it’s prominent emcee Zev Love X. KMD the underground rap group trio consisted of Zev, his younger brother/producer DJ Subroc, Rodan a short lived member later replaced by Onyx the Birthstone Kid who would also later leave the group. KMD an acronym for Kausing Much Damage supports the 90s Hip-Hop scene of aggressive, controversial, loud lyricism under institutionalization.
KMD’s first album Mr. Hood is a work of celebration for the ghetto, a reaction to the urban community with childlike imagination through samplings of children’s TV show and jolly line delivery reminiscent of ATCQ or De La Soul. The hood is re-imagined like a children’s fairytale book through comical portrayal. After the release of the jovial sounding first album KMD made a quick shift with their overall aesthetics and character. KMD started recording their follow-up Black Bastards around 1993. That’s when shit hit the fan.
Onyx the Birthstone Kid departed the group during the recording session of Black Bastards, which resulted in the remaining members finishing the album, but another hump grew for Zev to overcome. His younger brother DJ Subroc was killed in a terrible accident shortly after the album’s completion. Then Elektra Records dropped Zev and KMD’s sophomore effort due to its ruthless album title; a cover art that featured a Sambo character being lynched, and Zev’s racially charged lyrical content. The album itself is an underground masterpiece of it’s own. Black Bastards is belligerent, violently hard hitting, earnest, but most of all it’s a rap album charged by suppression within American society.
Elektra Records quickly shelved Black Bastards, remaining as nothing less than an inanimate object. Zev Love X despaired into desolation due to the result of his brother’s death and the overbearing control from his record company, who simultaneously dropped him from the label.
MF DOOM started stirring into the underground scene. Rapidly becoming one of the most talked about figure in Alternative Hip-Hop. His album Operation Doomsday established his persona, and his Gladiator mask furthered the legendary tales of his villainous history. His album was a success, and the rarity of the album contributed to launch the mythos known as MF DOOM.
Then in the year 2001 KMD’s album Black Bastards was officially released through Sub Verse music, and again through MF DOOM’s label Metal Face Records in 2008. After the success of Operation Doomsday, MF DOOM’s collaborative projects with MF Grimm steadily built his reputation until his mythos reached the public through one of Hip-Hop’s most influential album Madvillainy with Madlib. MF DOOM is no longer the underdog of the Hip-Hop scene. His success is owed to his puzzling mystique, and glimpses of his past that fans had to piece in together.
It’s not surprising to realize the connection between KMD’s Zev Love X and MF DOOM. The auras of their albums are similar in nature. The cartoonish album covers, the kids show samples, the flow and lyricism. Zev and DOOM are identical in their basic motif. This notion is fully understood once we as listeners piece together the two rappers as one. Since both alter egos are products created by the same man.