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definition - Madvillainy

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Studio album by Madvillain
Released March 23, 2004
Recorded 2002–2004
Genre Hip hop
Length 46:10
Label Stones Throw
Producer Madlib, MF DOOM
Madvillain chronology
Madvillainy 2 - The Madlib Remix
Madlib chronology
Theme For A Broken Soul
Madlib Remixes 2
MF DOOM chronology
Vaudeville Villain
Venomous Villain

Madvillainy is the debut album by American hip hop duo Madvillain, a group consisting of MF DOOM (MC) and Madlib (producer). It was released on March 23, 2004 on Stones Throw Records to overwhelmingly positive reviews. It received universal acclaim from music critics, based on an aggregate score of 93/100 from Metacritic.[1]


  Album information

Madvillainy was praised for its unique and innovative approach to hip hop: short tracks, abstract lyrics, few choruses and a sound generally unfriendly to commercial radio. Despite this, the album achieved moderate commercial success-peaking at #179 on the U.S. Billboard 200-and attracted much attention from media outlets not usually covering hip hop music, including The New Yorker.

Four videos were made for the album: "All Caps" (directed by James Reitano), "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Accordion" (both directed by Andrew Gura). "All Caps" and "Rhinestone Cowboy" appear on the DVD "Stones Throw 101" along with a hidden easter egg video for "Shadows Of Tomorrow" (directed by System D-128) as a hidden feature. An impromptu video for "Accordion" was filmed in 2004 but not released until 2008's In Living the True Gods DVD.

At least two tracks on Madvillainy ("Rhinestone Cowboy", "Strange Ways") were produced using a portable turntable, a cassette deck and a Boss SP303 sampler[2] by Madlib in Brazil. The first music to be publicly debuted from Madvillainy was the song "America's Most Blunted" which was played by Madlib at the Red Bull Music Academy in Brazil, November 2002.

An instrumental version of the album was released only in vinyl format and Digitally through various online stores, with the tracks "The Illest Villains", "Bistro", "Sickfit", "Do Not Fire!", and "Supervillain Theme" being omitted. Two remix EPs of Madvillainy were released on Stones Throw. The remixes were done by Four Tet and Koushik.

The album's cover bears a resemblance to Jandek's The Living End as well as Madonna's self-titled debut.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau A−[4]
Entertainment Weekly (B)[5]
The New Yorker (favorable)[6]
Pitchfork Media (9.4/10)[7]
PopMatters (favorable)[8]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[9]
Stylus Magazine A−[10]
Tiny Mix Tapes 4.5/5 stars[11]
The Village Voice (favorable)[12]

In 2009, the album was selected in HipHopDX.com's Top 10 Albums of the '00s.[13]

Spin (p. 66) - Ranked #17 in Spin's "40 Best Albums of the Year" - "Madlib's production — thick, woozy slabs of beatnik bass — keeps things hotter than an underground volcano lair."

Rhapsody - Ranked #13 on Rhapsody's "100 Best Albums of the Decade" list and #1 on the "Hip-Hop's Best Albums of the Decade" list. "The collaboration between underground hip-hop’s most adventurous producer (Madlib) and its most treasured lyricist (MF DOOM), Madvillainy is full of dark alleys and trapdoors. DOOM’s lines are extended vocabulary workouts and take repeated listens to fully unpack, yet there are times when the emcee peers through the Dada-ist carnival of words and speaks directly and honestly. Madlib’s production, meanwhile, is pure pastiche, a smorgasbord of world music, classic soul and outsider music. Snippets of childhood recordings rub against Sun Ra and Sonny Rollins. It’s a dark, funny and strange album."[14][15]

Pitchfork - Ranked # 13 in Pitchfork's "The Top 100 Albums of 2000-04" - "While Madlib's special power played tricks on your ears-- a sample you were sure was the sound of cars rolling by on the street might sound like the hiss of a record on a different day ("Rainbows")-- Doom unfurled his clever lyrics like a roll of sod on earth... and the album curved in on itself like a two-way mirror."[16] Pitchfork more recently ranked it as the 25th best album of the 2000s.[17]

  Track listing

All tracks written by MF DOOM (D. Dumile — LORD DIHOO MUSIC, ASCAP) and Madlib (O. Jackson Jr. - Madlib Invazion, BMI), except:

  • "Sickfit", "Do Not Fire!" and "Supervillain Theme" written by Madlib
  • "Raid" written by MF DOOM, Madlib and M.E.D. (N. Rodriguez)
  • "Hardcore Hustle" written by Madlib and Wildchild (J. Brown — KRB Music, BMI)
  • "Great Day" written by MF DOOM, Madlib and Lord Scotch 79
# Title Length Producer(s) Performer(s) Samples
1 "The Illest Villains" 1:55 Madlib & MF DOOM n/a
2 "Accordion" 1:59 Madlib MF DOOM
  • "Experience" by Daedelus (from the 2002 album Invention [18])
3 "Meat Grinder" 2:12 Madlib MF DOOM
4 "Bistro" 1:08 Madlib MF DOOM
5 "Raid" 2:31 Madlib MF DOOM & M.E.D. (a.k.a. Medaphoar)
  • "Nardis" by Bill Evans (as the intro)
  • "América Latina" by Osmar Milito & Quarter Forma
  • "Computer Games" by George Clinton
6 "America's Most Blunted" 3:54 Madlib MF DOOM, Madlib & Lord Quas
7 "Sickfit" (Instrumental) 1:22 Madlib n/a
8 "Rainbows" 2:52 Madlib MF DOOM
9 "Curls" 1:36 Madlib MF DOOM
  • "Airport Love Theme" by Waldir Calmon
10 "Do Not Fire!" (Instrumental) 0:53 Madlib n/a
11 "Money Folder" 3:03 Madlib MF DOOM
12 "Shadows of Tomorrow" 2:36 Madlib Lord Quas & Madlib
13 "Operation Lifesaver AKA Mint Test" 1:30 Madlib MF DOOM
14 "Figaro" 2:26 Madlib MF DOOM
15 "Hardcore Hustle" 1:22 Madlib Wildchild
16 "Strange Ways" 1:52 Madlib MF DOOM
17 "Fancy Clown" 1:56 Madlib Viktor Vaughn[19] & Allah's Reflection
  • "That Ain't The Way You Make Love" by Z. Z. Hill
18 "Eye" 1:58 Madlib Stacy Epps
19 "Supervillain Theme" (Instrumental) 0:53 Madlib n/a
20 "ALL CAPS" 2:10 Madlib MF DOOM
21 "Great Day" 2:17 Madlib MF DOOM
22 "Rhinestone Cowboy" 4:02 Madlib MF DOOM


  • Executive producer: Peanut Butter Wolf
  • Project coordinator: Egon
  • Project consultant: Miranda Jane
  • Mastering: Dave Cooley
  • Engineering: Dave Cooley, Madlib, MF Doom
  • Mixing: Dave Cooley
  • Design: Jeff Jank
  • Illustration: James Reitano


  • "Money Folder" briefly quotes the song "South Bronx" by Boogie Down Productions.
  • "All Caps" can also be found in QuickTime format when the Madvillainy disc is placed in a computer.
  • On The Boondocks episode titled Let's Nab Oprah, three songs from Madvillainy are used: "Raid", "All Caps", and "Strange Ways". The episode Wingmen features "Fancy Clown".
  • During its run, a snippet of "Do Not Fire!" was played prior to opening sequence of the hip-hop-influenced chanbara anime Samurai Champloo. The clip was played to the tune of a revolving image of the show's logo—a vinyl record—giving off the illusion of scratching.
  • At the end of an MTV special for the movie "V for Vendetta", the titular character interrupts the show, ending his message with "and remember, all caps when you spell the man's name."
  • Viktor Vaughn's anger in "Fancy Clown" is directed not only to his fictional girlfriend but to DOOM himself ("Don't make me have to pound his tin crown face in"), ("That's you if you want a dude who wears a mask all day"), an alter-ego of Vaughn himself (Daniel Dumile).
  • "Raid" is a part of Thom Yorke's Celebrity Playlist on iTunes as well as the Quasimoto track "Closer", which featured DOOM.
  • "Money Folder" was featured in the film Bomb the System.
  • Beats for "Strange Ways" and "Rhinestone Cowboy" were partially produced in a hotel room in Brazil, late 2002.[20]
  • "Rainbows" was covered by rapper Mos Def and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble at least once, during a concert soundcheck which can be seen on Youtube.[21] "All Caps" was also covered by Mos Def and his Watermelon Syndicate orchestra at their July 2008 Carnegie Hall show. He also covered "Accordion" in a Chicago concert.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic and The Roots recorded an instrumental version of Accordion, released to the internet by Questlove once his Twitter account reached 1.6million followers.
  • Madvillainy would later inspire the content of Danny!'s Interscope debut album Where Is Danny?.
  • 'All Caps' was sampled by Earl Sweatshirt's unreleased song, 'Deerskin'.

  Chart history

Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Album Chart positions
Billboard 200 Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums Top Independent Albums Top Heatseekers
2004 Madvillainy #179 #80 #10 #9


Madvillainy 2: The Madlib Remix was released by Stones Throw in 2008, containing a complete remix of the album by Madlib as a part of a Madvillain box set.[22]


  1. ^ Madvillain: Madvillainy (2004): Reviews
  2. ^ Stones Throw Records
  3. ^ Isles, Jack LV. Review: Madvillainy. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide: Madvillainy". The Village Voice: August 3, 2004. Archived from the original on 2009-11-14.
  5. ^ Hermes, Will. Review: Madvillainy. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  6. ^ Frere-Jones, Sasha. Review: Madvillainy. The New Yorker. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  7. ^ Pemberton, Rollie. Sylvester, Nick. Review: Madvillainy. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  8. ^ O'Neil, Tim. Review: Madvillainy. PopMatters. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  9. ^ Henderson, Eric. Review: Madvillainy. Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  10. ^ Young, Nate De. Review: Madvillainy. Stylus Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  11. ^ Oma, Will. Review: Madvillainy. Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  12. ^ Johnson, Sherman. Review: Madvillainy. The Village Voice. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  13. ^ "HipHopDX's Top 10 Albums of the 00's" Retrieved 09 July 2010.
  14. ^ "Rhapsody's 100 Best Albums of the Decade" Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  15. ^ "Hip-Hop’s Best Albums of the Decade" Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  16. ^ "Staff Lists: The Top 100 Albums of 2000-04 | Features". Pitchfork. 2005-02-07. http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/5956-the-top-100-albums-of-2000-04-part-one/9/. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  17. ^ "Staff Lists: The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 50-21 | Features". Pitchfork. 2009-10-01. http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/7709-the-top-200-albums-of-the-2000s-50-21/3/. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  18. ^ Madvillain - Madvillainy (liner notes)
  19. ^ Viktor Vaughn is an alias of MF DOOM.
  20. ^ Stones Throw Records
  21. ^ "mos def x HYPNOTIC cover of "rainbows"". YouTube. 2007-04-07. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLwnem4Oxx4. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  22. ^ "Madvillainy 2: The Box | Stones Throw Records". Stonesthrow.com. 2008-07-23. http://www.stonesthrow.com/news/madvillain-box. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 

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