The world is still reeling after the news of rapper and producer MF DOOM’s death, reported on Thursday. MF DOOM, whose real name was Daniel Dumile, passed away on October 31; the news was confirmed by his wife Jasmine on the artist’s Instagram account. Dumile was 49.
DOOM — whose name I will continue to spell in all caps, just like he demanded — was one of hip hop’s most widely respected figures. Q-Tip, another one of the greats, crystallized his legacy perfectly with a tweet paying respects on Thursday, calling DOOM “your favorite MC’s MC.”
It’s almost impossible to overstate the enigmatic metal-faced villain’s rhyming and storytelling acuity. A string of hugely influential releases under various names between the late ’90s and mid-2000s — from Operation: Doomsday to Madvillainy and The Mouse and the Mask — cemented DOOM’s place in the pantheon of underground hip hop. The fact you never saw the mug behind the mask only added to his mythos. The Root has a great obituary on DOOM that I recommend you check out.
Like many of us, I’ve been listening to DOOM’s catalog almost exclusively since the tragic news broke before the long weekend. While I’d always enjoyed his music, I didn’t know much about Dumile, the man — though, of course, that was how he wanted things. You could imagine my joy and surprise, then, when I learned he happened to be quite the avid radio-controlled car enthusiast.
DOOM was interviewed back in 2012 for Intersection, a car culture and fashion magazine, about his hobby. The text has been preserved online via Issuu, and begins on page 164. It includes photos of DOOM testing out his rides in a London BMX park. A few outtakes from the shoot posted to Imgur, show him playing with his son, King Malachi Ezekiel Dumile, who died in 2017 at the age of 14. The pictures leave me in tears but smiling.
DOOM evidently wasn’t driving much those days, as he told Intersection he didn’t have a license. That didn’t stop him from going on occasional joyrides in his wife’s Lincoln Navigator, though fortunately, he says he was never caught. Instead, he tended to get his fix with an RC car remote in hand:
“I got like 13 of these suckers at home,” [DOOM] says while pointing at the radio control cars down in the dirt.
“I’ll easily spend like two thousand dollars on one of those. Every kid wants to have a remote control car. But back when I was a kid we couldn’t really afford it. So now I’m living the dream. Reliving that part of my childhood that I didn’t get a chance to do back then. One day I said ok I’m gonna treat myself and threw down 500 dollars for one of these. It was a T-Maxx from the Traxxas company. And I’ve always been into electronics and mechanics and shit like that. Modifying things. Changing parts up all the time. It’s a hobby. Keeps me out of trouble.”
The feature goes on to see DOOM review his favorites of his collection — the standout being his black Porsche Cayenne with monster truck tires, adorned with Apple stickers. The rest of the roster is all Tamiya, including a buggy, ’80s Toyota Hilux, Jeep Wrangler and first-gen Ford Bronco.
There’s something delightful about DOOM talking about brushless motors and three-speed gearboxes with childlike enthusiasm. “Wild Willy’s on the track tearing it up again,” he says about the Jeep. “We can’t stop him! Reminds me of Wacky Races or some shit.” The whole thing has me wanting to pour over DOOM’s discography in a search for bars about RC cars.
Rest in peace, legend.