MF DOOM's Metal Face Records Releases 2016 2LP Repressing of KMD's Storied "Black Bastards" Album

Posted by Billyjam, January 25, 2016 01:20pm | Post a Comment

New 2016 hip-hop releases at Amoeba, many of them wax represses, include the latest vinyl re-issue of KMD's ever storied and controversial album Black Bastards (aka Bl_ck B_st_rds). Intended to be the follow-up to their 1991 debut Mr. Hood on Elektra Records, this album was famously shelved by its major label in 1994 over its title and cover art. The album, that became an instant classic, did get released (and re-released) over the years since in CD and vinyl formats.  The vinyl repressings, now out of print, are not always easy to find. The new 2016 2LP version of the album distinguishes itself from previous pressings by its packaging: newly designed gate-fold pop-up album cover (above) plus an excellent 32-page booklet inside. Further, this release is care of Metal Face Records, the label owned by KMD founding member Daniel Dumile (aka widely beloved hip-hop artist MF DOOM). Essentially, this album and the events surrounding it are what shaped DOOM's whole career and his ever-intriguing persona of a masked super villain. 

Back in 1993 in his young KMD days, DOOM was known as Zev Love X.  The British-born NYC hip-hop artist and his brother DJ Subroc as the group KMD were working on their second album, which was to be a stylistic departure from their more fun, lighthearted first record. Then right before they were to finish up production on the album, DJ Subroc was killed, the pedestrian in an auto accident. He was only 20-years-old. It was devastating for DOOM who lost not just his brother but his musical partner. To make things worse, when time came for the album to be released the label said they didn't want to release it because of the cover art, the attention-grabbing "hanging sambo" art that was created by Subroc. Elektra handed the surviving brother back the master tapes for the album along with a nominal sum of money and told him they were done with him. The whole negative experience caused Dumile to spiral downward and drop out of hip-hop for a few years. Then, like a phoenix from the ashes, in 1997 Zev Love X re-emerged as MF DOOM (Metal Face Doom). As such he has become a respected prolific artist introduced to many via such collaborative projects such as Madvillain (with Madlib), DANGERDOOM (with Danger Mouse), JJ DOOM (with Jneiro Jarel), DOOMSTARKS (with Ghostface Killah), and 2014's NehruvianDOOM (with Bishop Nehru).

Although Black Bastards was shelved in 1994, Elektra did press up a limited run promo-only cassette version (with plain text cover) of the album. That, no doubt, led to the many bootleg versions of the album that would surface over time. Then in 1998 outtakes and alternate versions of album songs (four songs plus four corresponding instrumentals) were compiled and released by Bobbito's Fondle Em label. That eight track 12" was entitled the Black Bastards Ruffs & Rares EP.  A couple years later in 2000 the actual album, complete with original cover art, was released on the Ready Rock label via vinyl and CD formats. Then the following year the Sub Verse label re-released it as a 2LP set as well as on CD. Fast forward to 2008 and MF DOOM himself re-released it as a 2LP vinyl set and CD version via on his record label Metal Face Records. In 2015 Metal Face again reissued it as a 2CD set, as well as as a single 7" vinyl picture disc + 2CD (one with bonus material) set all packaged in a most novel way, as a children's pop-up book (for Record Store Day 2015). In big demand, those are all currently unavailable. But the new Metal Face Black Bastards 2LP version is now available from Amoeba. So too is the Black Bastards Deluxe Edition Download version.

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Black Bastards (1), Doomstarks (3), Jj Doom (7), Dangerdoom (2), Madvillain (5), Doom (8), Mf Doom (16), Kmd (1), Dj Subroc (1)