Dangerdoom The Mouse and the Mask

[Epitaph; 2005]

Styles: underground hip-hop, cartoons, Adult Swim
Others: Viktor Von Doom, King Geedorah, Brak

I have to admit, when I first heard that Danger Mouse and MF Doom were collaborating, I was thrilled. The Metal-Faced villain is one of the sickest MCs in the game today, and Danger Mouse's beats are rarely anything short of incredible. From the get-go, there was nothing that could make their talents falter. Both individuals are musical forces to be reckoned with, on a level far above most folks who call themselves musicians or hip-hop artists. When listening to The Mouse and the Mask, these facts are apparent. Doom's flow is no less on point than on that really good album he dropped last year (you know the one), and the production nails all of the punches. The Mouse and the Mask's downfall, though, is its excruciatingly narrow scope.

The album is pretty much based entirely on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim cartoons, and is considered more lighthearted by both Danger and Doom standards. They set out to make a dope hip-hop album that wasn't about the usual gang rivals, shootings, or skanky bitches. In that respect, they've succeeded; but the album comes off as rather light and repetitive because of it. The extent of the mood is explored and doubled over again before the album is through. I also find the skits to get a little annoying, but those who enjoy Adult Swim will probably be down with Meatwad and Shake bustin' onto the scene. When your mind attempts to digest it bit-by-bit, though, things start to get confusing. On one hand, you've got Brak rapping (not the most pleasant sound); on the other, you get "The Mask," hopefully just an appetizer for what's to come between Doom and Ghostface. You get only a "fun" sort of mood, but you don't have to deal with the abominable, slow, sentimental song. It's really a toss-up, and debating it becomes rather trite. It's like getting the Oreo without having to milk the cow, except you can't say, "You know what, I'll milk the cow if it means that I get to have an awesome snack."

Unfortunately, what it comes down to for me is longevity. In three months, am I going to want to put on Dangerdoom? Or will I just be waiting patiently for the second Madvillain album to drop? Moreover, were I to desire this "fun" mood type of music, would my mind immediately crave The Mouse and the Mask? The sad part about this situation is that the amazing dynamic between Doom and Danger may never surface in a context outside of Adult Swim. Really, if Mouse and Viktor had just ditched the Aqua Teen Hunger Force, this could have been my favorite album of the year. Space Ghost and the guy who says "I'll make mince meat out of that mouse!" can stay, cause he's old school; and you can invite the Swat Katz, cause they're old school too. But no ATHF! (See how this kind of humor detracts from a review?) Or maybe Epitaph will let Stones Throw release the instrumentals and the a capellas so we can each make our own Dangerdoom album.

1. El Chupa Nibre
2. Sofa King
3. The Mask (ft. Ghostface Killah)
4. Perfect Hair
5. Benzi Box (ft. Cee-Lo)
6. Old School (ft. Talib Kweli)
7. A.T.H.F. (Aqua Teen Hunger Force)
8. Basket Case
9. No Names (Black Debbi)
10. Crosshairs
11. Mince Meat
12. Vats of Urine
13. Space Hos
14. Bada Bing