“The Chocolate Conquistadors,” the most recent release from the Toronto-based jazz and production outfit BadBadNotGood and the late rapper MF DOOM, currently has the distinction of being DOOM’s last rap feature. Emblematic of DOOM’s enigmatic career, “Conquistadors” was released in November––after DOOM had died, but before details of his death became public. As such, its release probably didn’t get the recognition it would have had fans known about his death earlier; however, it’s still a fine recording deserving of your attention.
The track opens with DOOM delivering a surprisingly erudite Spanish verse over a lush latinesque electric guitar before quickly transitioning into more standard fare: tightly looped Rhodes piano chords and a heavily swung pocket drum groove. DOOM’s writing is characteristically whimsical here, employing long strings of end rhymes to discuss the conquest of the musical world by black musicians. Some of his verses on “Conquistadors” take on a new meaning in the wake of his death; when he rhymes about spending “a thousand years on tour,” one cannot help but think about how the stressful and unhealthy lifestyle of a popular musician may have contributed to his fatal heart attack. We certainly wish DOOM had a millennia more touring and music-making left.
After DOOM’s verse, the song descends into well-regulated jazz chaos full of the massive-sounding synchronous guitar, bass, and key lines BadBadNotGood is known for. There’s a lot to appreciate here, even if you’ve just come to honor DOOM.
Joshua Wertheim is a sophomore in the College.