I really like this song. Let me explain why.
(Full disclosure: I’m a rabid MF Doom fan. The only reason I don’t call myself a stan is coz I’m not a completist with regards to his catalogue – I’m not particularly interested in getting his Special Herbs Instrumental sets. I’m a lyrics-head at heart, so Doom as a producer is not something I’m fiendin’ for. )
‘Never Dead’ is one of my fave joints off 'Vaudeville Villain' (Doom's second solo album, which he released under the moniker of Viktor Vaughn). Not surprising, since Doom's catalogue is chock full of great collabos (Ahem collabos, as in two emcees in the same booth, feeding off each other verses, as opposed to artists recording shit @ home and hitting send on their iphone. Emoticons @ the end of your attachments don’t constitute a collaboration, dudes). This particular track is a collaboration with M. Sayyid (of Anti Pop Consortium), who appears here under the moniker of Curtis Strifer. So if you’re keeping track, this is basically MF Doom (real name Daniel Dumile) as Viktor Vaughn featuring M. Sayyid as Curtis Strifer – Clearly, this is shamelessly pandering to schizophrenic, rap fanatics (Schizos are an extra-small, ultra niche audience sure, but if you take all their split personalities into account, this base is ‘MTV Teen Choice Awards’ big).
Speaking of split personalities, the beat’s all 'Dr-Jekyll-on-the-brink-of-turning-into-Mr. Hyde' evil. Both emcees clearly recognize this and bring their A-game here. As for the lyrics ..well as far as I can tell, its this high school narrative about young Doom out to hurt the 9th graders who stole his Donkey Kong Game. Seriously. I swear.
And as far as the conclusion goes, based on Doom’s last verse, I get the impression that he gets away with shooting the aforementioned Donkey Kong bandits (“There's no finer sound than when you let off a nine round / Before the slug find the ground, V be in Chinatown”).
Now, you’re thinking: Dude! This is High School Musical, with blood splatter! This cannot get any more awesome.
But then shit gets weird.
Well in all fairness, shit has always been weird in this track. Most notably, while Doom’s been pretty reasonable in sticking to this wonderful 9th grade vendetta, Curtis Strifer has been much more loose with the storyline– he’s been soaking his spit with some majorly surrealistic imagery. How surreal? Well, lets just say that dude’s first verse starts out with the lines:
Curt Strifer, the loon goon with the tunes in his tomb
Hotter than june/since had a twisted crib into he fumes
Kids trip on his broom/press twills for schills, shag with the halfmoon
So right off the bat, you know someone’s spiked the kool-aid.
The strangest part is that the tail end of Doom’s last verse, starts to blend in with Strifer’s voodoo jazz - Right after discussing his on-the-run exploits post-shooting the annoying videogame robbers, he starts talking about being in some 'hood black market,' where we encounter this random wizard-like dude ("I watched him freeze roaches and bring 'em straight back to life /he used a different approach than I ever read /the only thing he ever said was 'the roach is never dead' ")
Word? Like, WTF is going on? Am I missing something here? Is this shit a Luis Bunuel script? My interpretation is that after Doom shoots his targets, he realizes that shit is a mess, and therefore looks toward a wizard to make things right. This is the most reasonable conclusion I have come up with.
So like me, you’re thinking: this has been, for the most part, a great track with a fun storyline, but shit got wonky towards the end and I need closure. I mean, who is this random dude who brings dead roaches back to life? Why are 9th graders so unstable?
Don't despair. Strifer's got one last verse and that should tie up the loose ends. He'll provide us with some much needed clarity, I'm sure.
Enter the song's last verse, courtesy Strifer.
And that was science for the head /so we did the knowledge
(*Sidenote: Feel free to slap yourself for expecting logical closure*)
It says : Add body hair, the heart of a hen,
a fig, lay it under the bed will turn back time
and thats just what we did
next day walked in the school from the crib laughing,
yo limpin like a cane / and as I pass V
Viktor Vaughn : Yo c, you see I got my game, right?
And that’s how the song ends. Viktor gets his game back. So I guess it’s a happy ending after all. Just another typical story about having your donkey kong game stolen, executing vengeance on the robbers responsible for this, and aligning yourself w/ a roach-freezing, witch doctor. All this before time travelling with your looney friend, back to your peaceful past.
Can we get a mini series, HBO? Pitch it as Prison Break on PCP. I'm in.