Just as I and everyone else had suspected, The Mouse & The Mask -- the much-anticipated project between the masked MC known as MF Doom and underground beat man Danger Mouse -- is, quite simply, a fuckin' trip. When two of the most acclaimed, prolific names in indie hip-hop come together to create an album featuring characters from the Cartoon Network's nutty and naughty late-night programming block known as Adult Swim, it would be insane to expect anything but.

Yes, my little cheeky monkeys, from Meatwad to Mentok, all your favorite characters from those delightfully deranged cartoons you watch in between scrambled porn broadcasts end up making cameos. Sure, you don't have to know of such hysterically absurd shows as Sealab 2021, Aqua Teen Hunger Force or, my personal favorite, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, to enjoy this album. But it does help, especially when Doom devotes whole songs to these shows, like on "Space Ho's," where he envisions himself and Mouse taking over Space Ghost: Coast to Coast and inviting guests like Father Guido Sarducci, Father MC and Charo -- "coochie-coochie, with her new best-seller, Who You Call a Hoochie. "



The union of Doom and Mouse doesn't have quite the heavy, mind-blowing versatility of Madvillainy, Doom's über-praised 2004 collaboration with Madlib. Still, the Doom-Mouse pairing proves to be wacky, funky and oddly cerebral, keeping this whole cartoon thing from being too gimmicky. Doom, with his dense idiot-savant rhyme schemes, once again shows why he's the obsessive- compulsive equivalent of Jay-Z, while Mouse expertly gets his back, throwing in everything from violin hooks to '70s movie trailer-bumper music.

Ridiculous, raunchy and just plain right, The Mouse & The Mask is a concept album whose concept is to bring slacker college kids, boho backpackers and the grimiest of rap fans together for late nights of weed, cartoons and potato-chip consumption.


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