Considering the comic book-derived personas and pop culture-obsessed tendencies of underground hip-hop artists MF Doom and Danger Mouse, it should come as no surprise that the two should collaborate on an album featuring cartoon characters from the uber-hip Adult Swim network. THE MOUSE AND THE MASK is an occasionally surreal, frequently humorous, and always mind-expanding jaunt through rap's more intellectual reaches. While Space Ghost and Harvey Birdman Attorney At Law rub shoulders with real-life MCs Talib Kweli and Ghostface, the Danger Doom duo's rhymes dominate the proceedings, wasting no time in skewering the lamentable state of mainstream rap and hip-hop culture. Musically, most tracks are sparse, drawing samples from what sounds like everything from spooky gypsy violin music to greasy 1970's funk to groovy '60's beatnik music. Perhaps the most telling track, however, is "Old School," which celebrates the virtues of making music for the pure enjoyment of the craft.
One half of the short-lived yet influential Long Island, NY rap duo K.M.D., MF Doom, then Zevlove X, was m.i.a. for several years following the tragic death of his brother (K.M.D. DJ Sub Roc) in 1993. Doom reemerged in the early 2000s as an MC possessed; virulently independent and underground, Doom, aka Daniel Dumile, released a plethora of albums under various noms de plume including Victor Vaughn, Metal Fingers, and King Geedorah and collaborated with Danger Mouse (as Danger Doom), and Mad Lib (as Mad Villain). A singular dedication to his art combined with a manic creativity marks MF Doom as one of the most important hip-hop artists of the form's third decade.
Rolling Stone (No. 984, p.154) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...It's a fun ride..."
Spin (p.62) - Ranked #25 in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2005" - "Together, these two dudes are more animated than the cartoon characters who pop up on this disc."
Spin (pp.133-135) - "DangerDoom is a white-hot flame of anticipation fated to sizzle your rap-lovin' heart to a bitter char." - Grade:B