mf doom samples

The Legacy of MF DOOM Through His Samples

King Gheedorah. The Supervillain. Viktor Vaughn. Metal Fingers. Daniel Dumile went by many names, but the biggest was MF DOOM (don’t forget the all-caps) and his secret identity has been hidden by an iconic metal mask since the late-1990s.

While MF DOOM never quite slipped into the mainstream during his nearly three-decade-long career, he is arguably one of the most important contributors to modern hip-hop. The rapper and producer’s prolific list of credits, pseudonyms, and collaborations covers everything from classic cartoons to other hip-hop greats. To honor his legacy, Discogs and our friends at WhoSampled are breaking down MF DOOM’s samples by genres and years.

MF DOOM’s Most-Sampled Genres

Considering MF DOOM’s seat in the pantheon of hip-hop greats, it should come as no surprise that he drew from the genre the most. WhoSampled’s categorization lists hip-hop alongside R&B, so together, they are MF DOOM’s most-sampled styles.

For example, the song “Potholderz” on Operation: Doomsday borrows bits from Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Common, EPMD, and Big Daddy Kane. MF DOOM even sampled himself; “Rhymes Like Dimes” on the same album was featured in two later MF DOOM joints, “Monosodium Glutamate” and “Blaze a 50.”

However, slightly more surprising is television and film at No. 2. Fans of his work will be familiar with some of his eclectic samples from old-school superhero cartoons, particularly sound bites of namesake villain Doctor Doom from the Fantastic Four and Spider-man animated series. We asked WhoSampled for a list of all the TV and movie samples, which range from “Doom’s Origin” on “?” to “Spider-Man Fights Dr. Humperdink Dumpty Who Tries to Rob an Actress at a Parade” on “Dragon’s Blood.”

MF DOOM also referenced the Godzilla franchise, specifically the monster King Ghidorah, which was incorporated into one of his aliases, his work with Monsta Island Czars, several other tunes (such as “Red and Gold” on Operation: Doomsday), and the entire Take Me to Your Leader album.

Before you dig into MF DOOM’s most-sampled genres, it’s important to note that WhoSampled and Discogs define genres differently. For example, Discogs lists jazz and blues as two separate genres, but WhoSampled combines them into one category.

mf doom samples by genre

Data courtesy of WhoSampled

  1. Hip-Hop / R&B: 196 samples
  2. TV / Movie: 175 samples
  3. Soul / Funk / Disco: 150 samples
  4. Jazz / Blues: 69 samples
  5. Rock / Pop: 67 samples
  6. Soundtrack / Library: 52 samples
  7. Spoken Word: 42 samples
  8. Electronic / Dance: 13 samples
  9. World / Latin: 12 samples
  10. Country / Folk: 7 samples

MF DOOM’s Most-Sampled Years

Looking at MF DOOM’s most-sampled genres above, it may surprise you that the decade he drew from the most was the 1970s. After all, MF DOOM was well-known for sampling his contemporaries in the 1990s and 2000s, his namesake Doctor Doom appeared in the 1994 Spider-Man series, and King Ghidorah has attacked sporadically since 1964.

However, the influence that funk, soul, and disco has on hip-hop at-large is undeniable, and these styles prevailed throughout the ’70s. Let’s take another look at “Potholderz,” the song that featured a few other hip-hop favorites. It also samples “400 Girls Ago” from an instrumental album of soul-jazz guitarist Billy Butler playing the music from Broadway flop Via Galactica. Talk about a deep cut. And this is just one small example of the unique samples that MF DOOM wove into his work.

mf doom samples by year

Data courtesy of WhoSampled

  1. 1969: 41 samples
  2. 1970: 39 samples
  3. 1975: 38 samples
  4. 1971: 36 samples
  5. 1972: 33 samples
  6. 1973: 33 samples
  7. 1974: 32 samples
  8. 1977: 31 samples
  9. 1986: 30 samples
  10. 1999: 26 samples

MF DOOM’s Most Popular Albums

If you’re familiar with MF DOOM’s better-known songs, we encourage you to dig around the Database and explore his many aliases to truly understand the breadth of his work. However, if you’re completely new to the DOOM universe, take a look at his most-collected and most-wanted albums on Discogs.

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