MF DOOM feat. Big Benn Klingon, Expektoration… Live
A nostalgic live set of classic MF Doom theatrics
A general rule of thumb regarding live albums is that they're either artistic cop-outs or obvious cash-ins. So it helps your credibility if you happen to be MF Doom, an indie rap god of sorts, who treats hip-hop as theater, cycling through interchangeable personas (there's MF Doom, King Geedorah and Viktor Vaughn…for now) like he's putting on a one-man play. Expektoration, only his second official live release — the first being 2005's Live from Planet X — is presented, aptly, in two acts, with a Star Trek-themed intermission. Themes are important in Doom's world.
The first act is a set list comprised mostly of material from two albums released in '04, Doom's first (and last) Rhymesayers outing, the underrated Mm…Food and Madvillainy, his universally acclaimed collaboration with producer Madlib. Strangely enough, if you're looking for material from his last album, Born Like This, you won't find it here. The second act consists mostly of nostalgia bait, "Golden Era Doom" tracks from his classic debut, Operation Doomsday. The energy of a great performance is on display when Doom runs through the title cut of this album, the unofficial anthem that introduced him back in '99, while the crowd throws back the song's eponymous chorus — "On Doomsday! /Ever since the womb 'til I'm back where my brother went/ That's what my tomb will say/ Right above my government, Doom will lay."
The show winds to a close with Doom spitting classic verses from his other projects: "Change the Beat" from Viktor Vaughn's Vaudeville Villain and "Fine Print" from King Geedorah's Take Me To Your Leader. The Star Trek voiceover, which one assumes has been added in the studio, bellows menacingly: "Once you have their money, never give it back." But Doom's no supervillain, anyway and, as it turns out, the show's other purpose was to help raise money for a food drive. So, somewhere between "One Beer" and "Beef Rap," Doom stops the music and reminds everyone to participate. What a guy.