Interview with DOOM in Atlanta

Two journalists from HHC Digital Magazine went on a rap pilgrimage to meet DOOM in Atlanta – Below is an extract from their interview, available to download in full for free as a PDF here. DOOM gets into detail discussing art, music, graffiti, drinking, his new album BORN LIKE THIS. and forthcoming projects…


Interview Philip Mlynar, Photography by Kristina Hill

An invisible cat who pulls off disappearing acts? That’s putting it lightly. The rapper currently calling himself DOOM – “All big letters but it isn’t no acronym,” he raps, possibly nodding to his graffiti roots; more probably just engaging in his usual new album name change shenanigans – sure ain’t easy to pin down. The evening before boarding a plane from New York to Atlanta, there’s still no word on whether rap’s buttery-voiced character kingpin will show up for an interview. Hell, there’s not even anything close to, you know, a contact to call after touching down. Instead, after bouncing from NY to Charlotte to the ATL, a text message comes through:

“Welcome to Atlanta. Hope you had a good flight.”

Then another: “Location details later.”

Then nothing.

…Then, just as you’re holing up inside a rental car, the rain bucketing down outside, groaning at the idea of boarding tomorrow’s flight without catching a whiff of the elusive super-villain, getting ready to relegate the hip-hop quotient of “’Cos we are the Aqua Teens, make the homies say ‘Ho!’ and the girlies wanna scream!” the jaunt to nothing more than realising that the subway train announcers really do sound like the tour guide guy on Outkast’s ‘Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik’, the key appears:

“Django. 495 Peachtree Street. 3.30pm. Codeword is ‘Villain’.” You’re not sure whether to laugh or curse him out. Outside the venue, a portly cop is guarding the door. He asks for the codeword.

“Villain,” you say, wanting to laugh.
“Okay, step inside,” he says, all method-acting seriousness. “But no cellphones. They told me no cellphones inside.”

It’s a brilliantly DOOM-ian tick: it’s quizzical, it makes no real sense on the surface, but it conjures up a unique vibe. Inside the venue the cop barks another order: “You [pointing to the photographer] go downstairs and wait. You [journalist] go up those stairs – they’re waiting for you.”

With that, it’s like you’ve been sucked into a movie scene: DOOM’s sitting smack in the middle of a line of tables, flanked by an entourage rockin’ masks and baseball caps. Hoisting himself up, he extends a hand, and says in that familiar cartoon squelch of a voice, “Welcome!”

“You’re a hard man to track down,” you offer.

“Oh really? I hadn’t noticed,” he says. Cue Villain’s laughter.

You’ve titled your new album after a phrase in a Charles Bukowski poem. How did you first come across his work? “I’ve been a fan of Bukowski for a while. It was a friend of mine – damn, I forget the nigga name – from Life Sucks Die, remember that magazine?”

Yeah, they did the spoof Ice-T ‘Power’ cover.

“Yeah, it’s a graffiti magazine but it’s real kinda edgy, out of Minneapolis. They did an interview with me and then me and Andrew [Broder] was friends ever since then. He said, ‘Your shit reminds me of this dude Bukowski, you gotta read his stuff.’ I was a little apprehensive at first, ‘cos I was like, ‘What kinda weird shit is this?’ Then he gave me a book, The Most Beautiful Woman In Town, and after that I just got into it.

“So for this album, to celebrate all us writers, emcees, if you look at it, it’s a lot of words that we say, and we all write those words: if it was written down on a piece of paper it could be a short story or like a good book. So I saw where Andrew was coming from where he sees the similarities. In tribute to Bukowski I said let me get him as a guest appearance…