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RECORD RACK

Cartoons, yes, but never a lampoon

November 13, 2005|Soren Baker

Danger Doom

"The Mouse and the Mask" (Epitaph)

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RAPPERS are often lambasted by cultural critics for their sometimes cartoonish behavior. But some members of the rap community actually embrace cartoons themselves, including prolific rapper MF Doom (who has nearly as many aliases for recording as Jennifer Garner has for Sydney Bristow) and producer Danger Mouse (who named himself after a cartoon and co-produced the current hit album by the conceptual animated "band" the Gorillaz).

As Danger Doom, the pair delivers an ingeniously clever album that showcases their affinity for cartoons and their love for the Cartoon Network's extensive "Adult Swim" cartoon roster. With more pop-culture references than a "Jeopardy" episode, the deep, hypnotic-voiced MF Doom (who often appears onstage and in photographs wearing a mask) constructs 14 lyrically dense adventures that could serve as story lines for wild cartoons of their own.

Danger Mouse's otherworldly production perfectly accents Doom's wild lyricism, as his layered arrangements sound like scores tailor-made for the tube. Many of the songs include humorous riffs of dialogue from "Space Ghost" and "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," among other "Adult Swim" stars, making this inside job a noteworthy achievement.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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