Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be the 100 Most Dynamic Debut Albums Ever Made, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
KMD’s debut album Mr. Hood is an album brimming with imagination, youthful enthusiasm, and strong rhetoric. The group, made up of Daniel “Zev Love X” Dumile Thompson (more affectionately known today as the enigmatic MF DOOM), his brother Dingilizwe “DJ Subroc” Dumile Thompson, and Alonzo “Onyx, the Birthstone Kid” Hodge, were a trio of Long Island teenagers. Stylistically, KMD (a.k.a. Kausing Much Damage or “A positive Kause in a Much Damaged society”) were somewhat of a hybrid between Brand Nubian and De La Soul. They expressed messages of Black empowerment and decried the oppressive system of the United States, but often used wit to convey their worldview while rapping over records that many wouldn’t ever think to sample.
The fun quirkiness of the album gives it its understated brilliance. The album features the members of the group holding conversation with Sesame Street’s Bert and the eponymous Mr. Hood, whose “voice” is constructed from snippets of instructional language records. There are light-hearted tales of Subroc’s daily existence as a barber (“Subroc’s Mission”) to cheerful songs dealing with growing up (“Peachfuzz”) to goofy stories about why the group has such solid low end (“808 Man”). These tracks stand side-by-side with tracks lamenting being reduced to stereotypes (“Who Me?” and “Boogie Man”) and screeds against society’s corrupt power structure (“Nitty Gritty”). There’s also time for straight lyrical exhibitions (“Humrush” and “Trial and Error”). KMD switches lyrical and musical gears with ease, never sounding forced and always keeping their sense of humor.