As rumor after rumor, story after story has circled the underground Hip-Hop circuit, Hip-Hop heads everywhere have discussed, argued and wondered about the origins of DOOM‘s (formerly MF DOOM) iconic mask. Having spent much of his career away from the spotlight, the London-born MC/producer has failed (and probably at times refused) to explain where the piece came from.
In a recent interview with the good folks over at Frank 151, legendary graffiti artist Blake “KEO” Lethem finally shed some light on the mask — which is a replica of Darth Maul‘s mask from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace spray painted silver -– and how he came to meet the artist formally known as Kev Love X.
“In 1980, I went to Music and Art, and I was already writing graffiti with a kid from Flatbush named Sync [who] introduced me to DOOM, and as soon as we got to talking, we realised we had all these connections, but we didn’t meet until ’96 when we started working on the artwork for Operation: Doomsday,” KEO explains. “Me and DOOM became really, really close really quickly because he would come to New York to work on projects and he would stay at my crib. He was a graffiti writer, he was an artist, a comic book head, and most of the artwork you see [on all of his albums] is his concepts.”
“His idea was to conceal his identity,” he continues. “For his first shows, we went out and got the cheap Halloween masks that you wore when you were a kid with the rubber bands round the back. [It was a] Darth Maul [mask], it was red and black, and I spray painted it silver, aluminum, Rustoleum and cut out the shape and square eyes and made a prototype.”
Watch the full interview below…
Do Remember: DOOM, Madlib and Jehst will be performing at the HMV Forum on October 12. Click HERE to purchase tickets.