Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman Share MF DOOM Tribute “Ask Anyone”
A little more than a week ago, the world had learned some sad news: Rap visionary MF DOOM had died at the age of 49. In fact, he’d been gone two months, and his family had kept it secret. This led to some of us doing some reflecting. Tributes from DOOM’s admirers are just starting to pour in. A few days ago, Open Mike Eagle shared a freestyle salute. Now Aesop Rock and Homeboy Sandman have gotten together to offer a new song in remembrance.
Aesop and Sandman have been recording together for a while, releasing a series of EPs under the duo name Lice. The last one was called Triple Fat Lice, and it came out in 2017. These days, Aesop and Sandman are both busy on their own. Last year, Aesop released Spirit World Field Guide, one of the year’s best rap albums, while Sandman released the Quelle Chris-produced Don’t Feed The Monster. But now DOOM’s passing has caused the two of them to get together and reminisce.
On their new song “Ask Anyone,” Aesop and Sandman both rap over a beat from DOOM himself. One of the tracks from DOOM’s 2004 beat collection Special Herbs, Vol 9 + 0 is called “Datura Stramonium,” and it’s a ridiculously funky piano loop. (DOOM chopped up music from the soundtrack of a 1977 Fat Albert Halloween special, and knowing that somehow makes it even better.) The beat has had a shelf life. DOOM himself rapped over it on “Da Supafriendz,” a 2004 collab with Cannibal Ox’s Vast Aire. Joey Bada$$ and Masta Ace have also used that instrumental. Now Aesop and Sandman have used it, too.
Aesop was a contemporary of DOOM’s; they both came out of the New York indie-rap world in its earliest days. On “Ask Anyone,” Aesop gets into specific, granular memories: “Where were you when Bob dropped the OG ‘Deadbent’?/ I was over Tony’s, on some ‘Whoa is that? No, is that…? Yes, it’s Zev Love X, sounding reckless’… DOOM stay gluing true grit to the bassline and made himself a hero and a villain at the same time.” Sandman, meanwhile, fans out: “DOOM was on a mission to remind you that the magic is what matters/ But where’d he find that banter?/ Where’d he find them patterns?/ He ain’t had no manners… No one ever done it better, so I’m a keep my computer on caps lock forever.” Listen below.
“Ask Anyone” is a name-your-price download at Bandcamp.