Guy Lochhead, 11/02/12
New York hip hop trio of brothers Zev Love X and DJ Subroc, and Rodan (later replaced by Onyx the Birthstone Kid). Their old-school flavour was paired with humorous but hard-hitting, articulate wordplay and use of obscure samples. The group is perhaps best known now for launching the career of MF Doom (Zev Love X) and for the controversy surrounding its second album, Black Bastards, which was darker and more angry in tone (partly due to label tensions and partly because of the death of Subroc in a car accident) and featured cover artwork of a Sambo character being hanged above a Hangman clue reading Bl_ck B_st_rds. This upset Elektra Records (a major KMD had got onto with their first, more light-hearted record, Mr. Hood) who shelved the project. It was eventually put out by Sub Verse in 2001. DOOM has recently been suggesting that the surviving members of the group might reform for a new record and touring… I love DOOM and I love KMD. I actually think KMD are more apt for inclusion in this because they rejected gangster trappings (I know DOOM’s just a character but still…) which leaves room for wit and doesn’t undermine its politics. The youth and intelligence on display here is phenomenal. I will include both of their brilliant albums. IF ONLY HIP HOP LISTENED TO ITS GOOD BITS.

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