“I’d like to start off by thanking our sponsor, For financing the parts for this Frankenstein monster,” so go the opening lines of “Avalanche,” the first bowshot from Madvillain since their 2008 remix album Madvillainy 2. That record, by the diabolical MF Doom and Madlib, was hardly “new.” It was a rework of the unimpeachable ’04 LP Madvillainy, which is still one of the greatest albums ever crafted by a hip hop duo. And so at the time, it was a stopgap measured glommed onto by the Madvillain faithful while waiting for some truly new shit to be released.
There’s no way, at least as of now, to know how “new” the new “Avalanche” 7″ is. It could well be as old as that Madvillainy 2 effort. In fact, some form of “Avalanche” has been floating around since at least 2010. So the thing is effectively Frankenstein’s Monster, something that’s been sutured together by steady hands and is now wreaking havoc on humanity. Doom here is as dialed in as I’ve heard him in years, quite possibly since 2009’s underappreciated Born Like This. He’s “higher than Kathmandu,” “working like a broken tetrahedron” and chastising rappers for “Bagger Vance acting.” Doom’s still got the flows to debunk punks and Madlib provides him with the sort of soulfully blunted beat that gives MF all the space in the world to take massive swings at challengers. None of those surprise blows from a lefty fail to land. Best believe your eyeballs and your eardrums. The villains are back.