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Article

Keeping It Unreal: Rap, Racecraft, and MF Doom

School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of St Gallen, 9000 St. Gallen, Switzerland
Humanities 2021, 10(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/h10010005
Received: 12 September 2020 / Revised: 6 December 2020 / Accepted: 23 December 2020 / Published: 28 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Racecraft and Speculative Culture)
Focusing on the masked rapper MF Doom, this article uses Karen E. Fields and Barbara J. Fields’s concept of “racecraft” to theorize how the insidious fiction called “race” shapes and reshapes popular “Black” music. Rap is a mode of racecraft that speculatively binds or “crafts” historical musical forms to “natural,” bio-geographical and -cultural traits. The result is a music that counts as authentic and “real” to the degree that it sounds “Black,” on the one hand, and a “Blackness” that naturally expresses itself in rap, on the other. The case of MF Doom illustrates how racialized peoples can appropriate ascriptive practices to craft their own identities against dominant forms of racecraft. The ideological and political work of “race” is not only oppressive but also gives members of subordinated “races” a means of critique, rebellion, and self-affirmation—an ensemble of counter-science fictions. Doom is a remarkable case study in rap and racecraft because when he puts an anonymous metal mask over the social mask that is his ascribed “race,” he unbinds the latter’s ties while simultaneously revealing racecraft’s durability. View Full-Text
Keywords: race; racecraft; rap; hip-hop; science fiction; MF Doom; King Geedorah; Viktor Vaughn; Doctor Doom; KMD race; racecraft; rap; hip-hop; science fiction; MF Doom; King Geedorah; Viktor Vaughn; Doctor Doom; KMD
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ramírez, J.J. Keeping It Unreal: Rap, Racecraft, and MF Doom. Humanities 2021, 10, 5. https://doi.org/10.3390/h10010005

AMA Style

Ramírez JJ. Keeping It Unreal: Rap, Racecraft, and MF Doom. Humanities. 2021; 10(1):5. https://doi.org/10.3390/h10010005

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ramírez, J. J. 2021. "Keeping It Unreal: Rap, Racecraft, and MF Doom" Humanities 10, no. 1: 5. https://doi.org/10.3390/h10010005

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