Born Like This represents DOOM’s return to rap, with the chrome–domed villain at his sharpest, a menacingly streamlined name and rhymes to match. With no topic beyond his grasp—he highlights the increased homogenisation of of hip-hop since his self-imposed exile, but filtered through the darker realities of war, race, religion, and sexuality. The album’s centrepiece is undoubtedly “Cellz”, which opens with Charles Bukowski’s apocalyptic “Dinosauria, We”. This audacious sample reinforces DOOM’s dark lyrical content, as well as drawing parallels to the work of other American poets who dealt with self-examination and dirty realism. “Can it be I stayed away too long?” croons DOOM on “That’s That”, and after a five year hiatus, you might be forgiven for considering it a possibility, but Born Like This swims against the tide. It builds into a complex and layered work, crafted with a deft touch that proves hip-hop’s villain may have matured into its saviour.
// Notes from the Road
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