MF Doom Dead! No? Ill! No? So, He's Just a Big Fat Jerk?!

Categories: Music

This week, the SF Weekly takes another look at the world's greatest masked villian rapper and his performance problems. Eric K. Arnold says the Bay Area may never forgive him, while (below) Ben Westhoff investigates rumors of the supervillian's demise.

By Ben Westhoff

The MF Doom situation just keeps getting weirder.

After he apparently sent in an imposter to play his show at the Independent in August and subsequently canceled the rest of his tour (including a make-up show here), he was scheduled to play the New York-Tokyo Music Festival on September 22.

The masked sadist never showed, of course, and according to, it was announced that Doom canceled “because he’s in the hospital fighting or his life.”

Rakim played a short set in his place and even apparently offered a “moment of silence” for Doom.

If he was actually seriously ill (like, in the bad way) that would win him some sympathy points from jilted fans, right?

But one of Doom’s labels, Stones Throw, issued a statement denying those rumors last week. It read, in part:

Every day for the past month we’ve been hit up by people wanting explanations, statements, clarifications, and declarations about MF DOOM. Is he lip synching? (No. Listen to the videos on Youtube.) Is he an impostor? (No, but he did lose some pounds.) Is he in the hospital? (No, he’s in his studio… or if not there, you can find him in the pub with the grub stain.)

Reached earlier this morning at his home in Georgia, an alive and well MF DOOM issued this statement: “What up? I’m dead.”

Devin Horwitz, a close friend of Doom’s and president of Nature Sounds, another of the rapper’s labels, tells me today: “Doom was sick but it was nothing life threatening. He wasn’t feeling well before, but he’s fine now, and fans don’t need to be concerned.”

Horwitz says he hasn’t spoken with him specifically regarding the New York-Tokyo Music Festival or the Independent show, but adds that he seriously doubts Doom ever used an imposter or lip-synched.

The Stones Throw link is now dead, which is perhaps not surprising, as it raises more questions that it answers. First of all, YouTube videos like this one (check out the 1:20 mark) are more incriminating than exonerating. Second, why deny the existence of an imposter, without explaining what happened at the Independent? And third, if Doom’s so healthy he’s cavorting at pubs, why does he keep missing shows?

Maybe this is the craziest publicity stunt Doom has pulled. Maybe he’s actually been dead for six weeks. Or maybe his act is just starting to wear thin.

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