For those who’ve followed it, the transformation from Zev Love X to MF Doom (and now Doom) as been an interesting one to say the least. From classics like the light-hearted Peach Fuzz to the moody rhythms of Monkey Suite, Doom transcends anything the casual onlooker may have expected from the often stale world of hip hop. I’m not sure if temporary exile has to do with Doom’s return to his roots or his physical location while recording Keys To The Kuff, but this offering definitely has a UK feel to it – which is great because it’s home to a lot of my favorite artists. As always, I’m excited to hear about new works from Doom and this collaboration with Jneiro Jarel has to be one of the best since his work with Danger Mouse in ‘05. JJ’s production is top notch as he takes the exploration of bass and subsonic tonality to completely new levels. One motif heard throughout is Jarel’s technique of closing out tracks with a complete divergence to bring the groove seamlessly into the next song. Borin’ Convo was the song that a friend sent to me which prompted my purchase of Keys. This song adds itself to the list of classic Doom sporting a deep, synthetic bass riff that plods along like an accusation while the beat is punctuated with a crisp, loosely chained snare kick. My favorite track, Gmo, is supported with a steady bass drum heartbeat, a deliberately strummed six-string, and a peppy melody sweetly harmonized by Beth Gibbon’s (Portishead) haunting vocal cadence hinting at the distant presence of a masked Zorro. Retarded Fren is a great song to listen to after an argument in support of your potential need to sulk for a bit. It’s a musical personification of defeat, as Doom says “Cold and stiff.” The instrumental Viberian Sun, Pt. II makes you want Doom to drop some lyrics while your head is bobbing to it’s infectious beat. Reminisce of some of J. Dilla’s great works, I’m sure this one will find its way into many mixes in the years to come. Keys to The Kuff, with production support from Jarel, illustrates Doom’s range as an artist and lyricist and I’m sure Subroc looks down proudly as his brother continues to push hip hop’s boundaries.