PRIVATE ENEMY (A REQUIEM IN MANY FORMS...PART II)
There, he met Dumile. They came to negotiate with executives from Readyrock Records, who planned to release MF Doom's solo debut, Operation: Doomsday, and K.M.D.'s second and final album, Bl_ck B_st_rds. Carey contributed financially to and is credited as an executive producer on both albums.
Miranda Jane, a Los Angeles–based music consultant, came to the studio to interview the guys for Stress, a now defunct hip-hop publication subtitled "NY's Illest Magazine." She even brought along dinner for them: homemade jambalaya and smothered cabbage. "They had a really good synergy together," she recalls.
Jane, who later became Dumile's manager, was one of last people to see his face. Since Operation: Doomsday, MF Doom has taken to wearing a metal gladiator mask onstage, in press and album photos, and even in everyday life around people he doesn't know very well. "Hip-hop tends to be about who's the flyest, who has the biggest chain," Dumile explains. "So it's kind of like the mask is the opposite of that. It's like, it don't matter what he looks like, what race he is. All that matters is the vocals, the spit, the beats, the rhymes."
The mask has metaphorical implications as well, Jane says. Having been scarred by the music industry, Dumile was reinventing himself as someone who wouldn't be played for a fool. "Doom was concerned with making money right now and feeding his family by any means necessary," she says, adding that this differed from Carey's long-term goal of building a black-owned distribution company from the bottom up.
"I got a different agenda," Dumile agrees. "It's about getting money, and that's that. I got children to feed." As for Carey: He "ain't got no kids."
Shortly after the L.A. meeting, Dumile returned to Atlanta, and Carey to the penitentiary. During his three-year confinement, he was transferred to institutions all over New York State. "I've been moved and moved. . . . Most of them wasn't wheelchair accessible," he says.
"I remember visiting him up in Fishkill, New York, and the facilities were a little better," recalls Elinor Tatum, a friend. "But he told me about how, before, he'd basically had to crawl to the shower. In another case, medical staff didn't want to have to change his catheter, so they gave him a drug that kept him from having to urinate. He got very ill because of it, because he was not eliminating the way he should have been."
Yet Carey found ways to make the most of a miserable situation, working on his chess game, teaching himself to cook, and studying the music industry.
"I got my hands on Billboard, Forbes, Fortune—anything that dealt with marketing," he says. "And I learned the business models of people like Quincy Jones, Russell Simmons, Tommy Mottola, and Jimmy Iovine. I basically took my years in prison and I used it as college."
Dumile visited him only once during that stint. Adding insult to injury, upon Carey's 2003 release, Dumile told him that the album deals with Readyrock had fallen through. He'd struck new deals to release Operation: Doomsday and Bl_ck B_st_rds, but they would pay the two men only a fraction of what was guaranteed by the original agreements.
"Dumile promised that he was going to do something to make it right, to get some thing to me," Carey says. "But he never did."
Answers Dumile, "It's funny how motherfuckers want to complain about how 'The Villain jerked me, and this and that.' I'm like, 'Get a lawyer!' "
To quote Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones..."PROPS IS A TRUE THUG'S WIFE."
p.s. Thank U to Ben Westhoff, who took the road less travelled by writing this thought-provoking, actual/factual, well-researched news piece and having the balls to know it was meant to be on the cover of the Village Voice.
p.p.s. 2007...there's only 5 years left.