A series of vibrant murals have recently appeared near the train tracks at Fullerton Avenue and Milwaukee Avenue in honor of the beloved British-American rapper MF DOOM who died in October 2020.
MF DOOM was the stage name of Daniel Dumile, a popular New York-raised, London-born rapper and producer. At the age of 49 Dumile’s death unexpectedly ended his prolific music career and shook the global hip-hop community. As MF DOOM, Dumile was instantly recognizable for his Gladiator-inspired metallic mask and his self-styled villain portrayal but it was his clever wordplay over soul and funk samples that made him a hip-hop hall-of-famer.
The tributes that have appeared all over the world are a testament to how much he was respected and Chicago artists are the latest to pay homage to Dumile’s legacy.
Prismatic pieces appeared in Logan Square over the weekend showing the self-styled villain donning his infamous mask and clasping a microphone. Dumile would have turned 50 on January 9, 2021, and the pieces likely went up on the day of his birthday.
Dumile was an avid graffiti artist himself and is heavily mourned by the graffiti community who have been equally impacted by the rapper’s loss. MF Doom’s album covers would often depict the rapper’s own bubble-lettered logos and he reportedly went out to paint these on walls frequently.
In an interview with David Ma on Dumile’s birthday in 2019 he revealed that graffiti inspired him throughout his career and was the source of the name for his first hip-hop group. “I was actually walking down the street and looking at graffiti. We were trying to start a graffiti crew at the time and that’s how the name KMD got started. Our first thing was to pick some letters that sounded good together. Then we picked what each individual letter stood for. That’s how KMD came about.”
Since his death graffiti dedicated to MF DOOM has appeared all over the world. New York and London where he spent most of his time, of course, but stunning tributes have sprung up all across Europe and the United States with iconic murals spotted across Amsterdam and Bristol, UK.
James Spurgeon, a Chicago-born artist who goes by the moniker Graffiti Nerd is one of the artists behind the new Logan Square pieces, and a huge MF DOOM fan himself. Spurgeon, who has a tattoo of the Marvel character that inspired Dumile’s rap persona, says that Dumile was in a similar circle of graffiti artists to him growing up and describes feeling that “one of our brothers has passed away”.
According to Spurgeon, the murals done by himself and other artists under the pseudonyms Beger, Zenl, and Zeb, will likely stay up for a month or so.
Your legacy lives on, Daniel Dumile.
[Featured Image from Twitter / @witchdrdoom]