King Geedorah

It's safe to say that MF Doom -- also known as King Geedorah, on this album at least -- possesses the most delightfully demented mind in all of music. Each one of his releases is a complex maze where listeners have to sift their way through his intricate wordplay and hazy, layered production. There is no such thing as a Doom album without some spaced-out motif, and on Take Me to Your Leader, it's the destruction of Earth wrought by Geedorah, the three-headed beast that gave Godzilla headaches.

The same obscure, reference-heavy rhymes and collages of sound bites taken from everything from old sci-fi flicks and cartoons that made Doom's Operation: Doomsday unforgettable make Leader an album not to be slept on. Who else but Doom can spit lines like "Once heard a beat drum, sounded like a sloppy knock / Whoever was on the mike, speech was pure poppycock"?

Unfortunately, Doom feels compelled to bring a boatload of MCs to help him take over the green planet, and for the most part they just get in the way. Doom rhymes on only five out of Leader's 13 tracks and leaves the rest of the mike time to his MIC associates, none of whom can bring it like he can. Sure, there are a few moments of brilliance from Doom's counterparts, such as the ones on the B-boy tearjerker "I Wonder" and the jazzy "Next Levels," but for the most part, Doom's legion of MCs is average at best and sounds decent only because of Doom's supreme production.

Although it's of the circumstantial variety at times, Leader is further evidence of Doom's genius and will have heads salivating for his next two releases this year. But next time Doom decides to conquer Earth he should think twice about bringing along help.

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David A. Herron