KMD - BL_CK B_ST_RDS
MF DOOM’s first group, KMD, and their controversial sophomore release Bl_ck B_st_rds is now available as a double CD with tons of bonus material including rare cuts, remixes and instrumentals, and a 32-page booklet of liner notes and rare photos compiled by Brian Coleman, as well as interviews with MF DOOM, Pete Nice, Dante Ross and Bobbito Garcia. The words “lost classic” get thrown around from time to time, but KMD’s sophomore album, Bl_ck B_st_rds, truly fits the bill.
Originally scheduled for release in the spring of 1994, their label unceremoniously shelved it at the eleventh hour due to controversy over the provocative cover art. Surviving group member MF DOOM (then known as Zev Love X) tried to release the album on other labels, but was continually met with dead ends. Sadly, the project languished in Hip-Hop purgatory until six years later, when the album saw a limited release on an indie label. Beyond the fact that the controversy surrounding the cover - featuring the group’s long-standing mascot being hanged by a makeshift gallows - was unfair, the group’s fans being denied access to this album only compounded the injustice.
Musically, and lyrically, it was a truly amazing record full of youthful creativity and tinged with the stress of growing up as Black men in urban America. Unlike on the group’s 1991 debut, Mr. Hood, Subroc had fully come into his own as both a producer and an MC on Bl_ck B_st_rds, and his untimely death made the album’s shelving that much more tragic. Songs like “What A Nigga Know” (the only single released from the album), the slippery, bass-driven “Get U Now”, and the album’s title track explore Black consciousness viewed through young-but-experienced eyes. Musically alternating between bouncy and raw - many times both concurrently - the tracks gave both MC’s the springboard they needed to express themselves clearly.