Madvillain is an esteemed hip-hop group comprised of New York-based emcee MF DOOM (born Daniel Dumille) and Los Angeles’ Madlib (born Otis Jackson). The pair joined forces in 2002 when they first began recording what would become their critically acclaimed debut, Madvillainy. Madlib, Stones Throw’s prized producer, worked on the instrumentals for the project during a trip to Brazil—infamously utilizing minimal amounts of equipment and sampling from distinctively obscure vinyl. All the while, DOOM—the enigmatic emcee reputed for wearing a mask—happily occupied his Madvillain counterpart’s studio in Mount Washington. As the two were working remotely, the unfinished demo was stolen and leaked online, roughly 14 months before its slated release. Understandably frustrated, both artists chose to focus on individual endeavors, with Madlib releasing 2003’s Champion Sound with J. Dilla (as Jaylib) and DOOM releasing two solo projects: Take Me To Your Leader (as King Geedorah) and Vaudeville Villain (as Viktor Vaughn) that same year.
Fortunately, the pair decided to revisit Madvillainy later on, with DOOM drastically altering his voice to be more mellow and relaxed, while Madlib got out of changing some of the beats by convincing the label he forgot which samples he used. The album saw a proper release in 2004, and was met with rave reviews, later becoming one of Stones Throw’s best-selling albums. After becoming an underground phenomenon, the album was given the official remix treatment, with Fourtet and Koushnik both reworking the project in 2005 for two separate EPs. The album’s original creators later remixed the project as well, releasing Madvillainy 2: The Madlib Remix in 2008. The next year, it was announced that the pair were working on a second release together. However, as diehard fans can sadly attest, the project has yet to see the light of day, with Madlib explaining during a 2014 interview that it is up to DOOM whether or not they ever finish it. Despite only releasing one studio album and several loose singles, Madvillain’s legacy influenced a generation of artists and remains one of the most beloved partnerships in hip-hop history to date.