MF Doom was one of the biggest names in the underground hip-hop music industry. He was a rapper, songwriter and music producer that created work that other artists fawned over. The rapper’s death was announced on New Year’s Eve and, ever since, we’ve been immersing ourselves in everything that made MF Doom great. His music remains as some of the most memorable creations in all hip-hop, and his contribution to the culture will never be underestimated.
As a writer, be it an author, poet or a lyricist, one is bound to experience a feeling of complete inability to be creative and come up with new things — AKA writer’s block. And there is, perhaps, no way to deal with it, other than to wait it out or engage in things that might help one open up the avenue to be creative. Despite being a gifted lyricist, MF Doom also suffered from block every so often and had some novel ways to get over it.
MF Doom, the man behind songs with some of the most mindboggling lyrics known to man, was bound to face similar issues. His lyrics range from being some of the most politically-charged writings to talking about loss; from coming up with some of the most vulgar lyrics to not being afraid to throw some shade now and then.
What’s interesting about MF Doom is the change of pace and themes of his songs was something that he very consciously did, as a performer. He created these different personas from whose perspective the songs were sung. So, ‘Doomsday’ was by the character Doom, shaped by the iconic Gladiator-inspired metal mask. ‘Lickupon’ was by the character Viktor Vaughn, inspired by the Marvel character Dr Victor Von Doom. Viktor Vaughn was unlike Doom in the sense that the former was a villain with a looser tongue, who relished in all things vulgar.
With such a varied, yet well thought out and intricately designed performance of some of the greatest songs in hip hop culture, Daniel Dumile, best known as MF Doom, was bound to experience writer’s block, like any other writer, some time or the other, wasn’t he? So, what did he do to overcome this? In an interview he revealed how he triumphs over the barrier: “I’ll do something like, I’ll read…I get inspiration from a lot of different things, like, nature, silence…playing with my children.”
MF Doom explains creativity like something that comes to you, a stream of energy- when it hits, there’s no stopping it, but you can’t force it. So, he says, “When it subsides, when it goes back, you can step back for a second and you know, there’s no way to really make it happen.”
What makes Dumile’s opinion on the subject all the more important is probably the fact that he doesn’t shy away from being so candid about his process. He discloses to his audience that even as an established singer/ songwriter/rapper/musician, he sometimes struggles to put things into words, and that should never be something that one puts oneself down for. It happens to the best of them.
Here’s a video of him speaking on the struggles of going through a writer’s block and how he gets through it.