Before Daniel Dumile was MF DOOM, the masked hip hop supervillain and one of the most celebrated underground rappers of all time, he was Zev Love X, one third of the hip hop trio KMD.
Along with his younger brother DJ Subroc and Rodan, who was later replaced by Onyx the Birthstone Kid, Zev Love X formed KMD in 1988 and was soon signed by legendary A&R Dante Ross to Elektra Records. Ross had heard about the group via 3rd Bass, headed up by MC Serch.
“I met Serch at a talent show,” DOOM later told Red Bull Music Academy. “You know how we’d be having those outdoor daytime parties. It’s not even like a night party, but an outdoor theater where people would be gathering in the community selling different items.”
It was here that Dumile heard Serch rhyming and peeped him. “I think I met him later on that day through my man, my man knew him already. So that’s how we met,” the late rapper recalled.
It wasn’t long after being signed to Elektra that KMD made their recording debut on the 3rd Bass’s song “The Gas Face” off The Cactus Album. As Serch would recall years later, it was Dumile who came up with the phrase “gas face.”
MC Serch: I was hanging out in Long Beach for years and years, with our dancers and friends Ahmed and Otis. Doom and Subroc lived down the block. Subroc was the neighbourhood barber, he cut everybody’s hair. One of their friends had a Caddy, and we would all chip in five dollars for gas money and go to Roosevelt Field Mall to check out chicks on the weekends and try to get numbers. When a girl dissed us, Doom started saying, “She just gave me the ‘Gas Face.'” Which meant that we just spent our gas money, only to get dissed. The “Gas Face” was when girls would suck their teeth and just walk away. We’d be like, “I could have used that five dollars to buy a hero!” So of course Doom had to be on the record, it was his phrase. They would go on tour with us and then KMD became the first group that we executive produced.Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies | Brian Coleman
After making their debut on “The Gas Face” and dropping their first album, Mr. Hood, in 1991, KMD was readying their sophomore album, Black Bastards, before Subroc was tragically hit by a car and killed in 1993. Their follow-up album was scheduled to drop on May 3, 1994 but KMD were dropped by Elektra and the project subsequently shelved due to its controversial artwork. KMD disbanded shortly afterwards and Dumile was left wandering the streets for years before remerging as MF DOOM in the late ’90s.
MF DOOM: At that time, I was damn near homeless, walking the streets of Manhattan, sleeping on benches and shit. It was a really, really dark time. But I still thought I was gonna get mine, regardless.MF DOOM In Wire | Stones Throw Records