“His Life is Like a Folklore Legend”

MF DOOM as Both a Consumer and Producer of Occultural Reenchantment


  • Dario Pizzuto The University of Sydney




MF DOOM, Hip-Hop, Reenchantment, Occculture, Bricolage


This article utilizes Christopher Partridge’s concept of “occulture” from his work The Re-Enchantment of the West to analyse the phenomenon of hip-hop, focusing specifically on the late rapper known as MF DOOM (b. Daniel Dumile). Partridge posits that while “disenchantment” is concurrent with a “secular” modernity, it often gives way to a process of “reenchantment” (Partridge 2004, 64). Hip-hop, inasmuch as it often draws from reenchanting, new religious movements, and is in itself a fundamentally eclectic, syncretic genre, presents ample opportunity for reenchantment narratives. I argue that MF DOOM is an exemplar of occultural reenchantment in hip-hop, being both a producer of it as well as a consumer. Acting as the genre’s “supervillain,” MF DOOM’s revolt against the “routinized” rap scene of the mid to late nineties sees him drawing on a variety of cultural materials, including his experiences in new religious movements, to create a bricolage that is reenchanting. MF DOOM’s reenchanting capacity is revealed in an analysis of three of his albums, Operation: Doomsday, Madvillainy and Born Like This. Similarly, an exploration of MF DOOM’s use of personae, and his dedication to embodying them in a kind of “performance artistry,” will be examined to understand their contribution to the occultural mystique associated with the rapper.


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How to Cite

Pizzuto, D. (2024). “His Life is Like a Folklore Legend”: MF DOOM as Both a Consumer and Producer of Occultural Reenchantment. International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 12(2), 211-233. https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsnr.28331