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Studio album by Madvillain
Released March 23, 2004
Recorded 2002–2004
Genre Hip hop
Length 46:10
Label Stones Throw
Producer Madlib, MF Doom
Madvillain chronology
Madvillainy 2: The Madlib Remix
Madlib chronology
Champion Sound
(with J Dilla as Jaylib)
MF DOOM chronology
Vaudeville Villain
Venomous Villain

Madvillainy is the debut album by American hip hop duo Madvillain, a group consisting of MF Doom (MC) and Madlib (producer). It was released on March 23, 2004 on Stones Throw Records to overwhelmingly positive reviews. It received universal acclaim from music critics, based on an aggregate score of 93/100 from Metacritic.[1]

Album information[edit]

Madvillainy was praised for its unique and innovative approach to hip hop; short tracks, abstract lyrics, few choruses and a sound generally unfriendly to commercial radio. Despite this, the album achieved moderate commercial success, peaking at number 179 on the US Billboard 200, and attracted much attention from media outlets not usually covering hip hop music, including The New Yorker.

Four videos were filmed for the album: "All Caps" (directed by James Reitano), "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Accordion" (both directed by Andrew Gura), and "Shadows of Tomorrow" (directed by System D-128). "All Caps" and "Rhinestone Cowboy" appear on the DVD Stones Throw 101 along with a hidden easter egg video for "Shadows Of Tomorrow" as a hidden feature. An impromptu video for "Accordion" was filmed in 2004 but not released until 2008's In Living the True Gods DVD.

At least two tracks on Madvillainy ("Rhinestone Cowboy", "Strange Ways") were produced using a portable turntable, a cassette deck and a Boss SP303 sampler[2] by Madlib in Brazil. The first music to be publicly debuted from Madvillainy was the song "America's Most Blunted" which was played by Madlib at the Red Bull Music Academy in Brazil, November 2002.

An instrumental version of the album was released only in vinyl format and digitally through various online stores, with the tracks "The Illest Villains", "Bistro", "Sickfit", "Do Not Fire!", and "Supervillain Theme" being omitted. Two remix EPs of Madvillainy were released on Stones Throw. The remixes were done by Four Tet and Koushik.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 93/100[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau A−[4]
Entertainment Weekly (B)[5]
The New Yorker (favorable)[6]
Pitchfork Media (9.4/10)[7]
PopMatters (favorable)[8]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[9]
Stylus Magazine A−[10]
Tiny Mix Tapes 4.5/5 stars[11]
The Village Voice (favorable)[12]

In 2009, the album was selected in's Top 10 Albums of the '00s.[13] Spin (p. 66) - Ranked number 17 in Spin's 40 Best Albums of the Year - "Madlib's production — thick, woozy slabs of beatnik bass — keeps things hotter than an underground volcano lair."

Rhapsody - Ranked number 13 on Rhapsody's 100 Best Albums of the Decade list and number 1 on the Hip-Hop's Best Albums of the Decade list. "The collaboration between underground hip-hop’s most adventurous producer (Madlib) and its most treasured lyricist (MF DOOM), Madvillainy is full of dark alleys and trapdoors. DOOM’s lines are extended vocabulary workouts and take repeated listens to fully unpack, yet there are times when the emcee peers through the Dada-ist carnival of words and speaks directly and honestly. Madlib’s production, meanwhile, is pure pastiche, a smorgasbord of world music, classic soul and outsider music. Snippets of childhood recordings rub against Sun Ra and Sonny Rollins. It’s a dark, funny and strange album."[14][15]

Pitchfork ranked the album at number 13 in their list of the top 100 albums of 2000-04, commenting, "While Madlib's special power played tricks on your ears-- a sample you were sure was the sound of cars rolling by on the street might sound like the hiss of a record on a different day ("Rainbows")-- Doom unfurled his clever lyrics like a roll of sod on earth... and the album curved in on itself like a two-way mirror."[16] Pitchfork more recently ranked it as the 25th best album of the 2000s.[17]

In 2015, it ranked at number 2 on Fact's 100 Best Indie Hip-Hop Records of All Time.[18]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "The Illest Villains"   Daniel Dumile, Otis Jackson Jr. Madlib, MF Doom 1:55
2. "Accordion"   Dumile, Jackson Jr. Madlib 1:59
3. "Meat Grinder"   Dumile, Jackson Jr. Madlib 2:12
4. "Bistro"   Dumile, Jackson Jr. Madlib 1:08
5. "Raid" (featuring MED aka Medaphoar) Dumile, Jackson Jr., N. Rodriguez Madlib 2:31
6. "America’s Most Blunted" (with Madlib featuring Lord Quas) Dumile, Jackson Jr. Madlib 3:54
7. "Sickfit" (instrumental) Jackson Jr. Madlib 1:22
8. "Rainbows"   Dumile, Jackson Jr. Madlib 2:52
9. "Curls"   Dumile, Jackson Jr. Madlib 1:36
10. "Do Not Fire!" (instrumental) Jackson Jr. Madlib 0:53
11. "Money Folder"   Dumile, Jackson Jr. Madlib 3:03
12. "Shadows of Tomorrow" (performed by Madlib featuring Lord Quas) Dumile, Jackson Jr. Madlib 2:36
13. "Operation Lifesaver aka Mint Test"   Dumile, Jackson Jr. Madlib 1:30
14. "Figaro"   Dumile, Jackson Jr. Madlib 2:26
15. "Hardcore Hustle" (featuring Wildchild) Jackson Jr., Jack Brown Madlib 1:22
16. "Strange Ways"   Dumile, Jackson Jr. Madlib 1:52
17. "Fancy Clown" (featuring Viktor Vaughn) Dumile, Jackson Jr. Madlib 1:56
18. "Eye" (featuring Stacy Epps) Dumile, Jackson Jr. Madlib 1:58
19. "Supervillain Theme" (instrumental) Jackson Jr. Madlib 0:53
20. "All Caps"   Dumile, Jackson Jr. Madlib 2:10
21. "Great Day"   Dumile, Jackson Jr., Blake Lethem Madlib 2:17
22. "Rhinestone Cowboy"   Dumile, Jackson Jr. Madlib 4:02


  • Peanut Butter Wolf – executive producer
  • Egon – project coordinator
  • Miranda Jane – project consultant
  • Dave Cooley – mastering
  • Dave Cooley, Madlib, MF Doom – engineering
  • Dave Cooley – mixing
  • Jeff Jank – design
  • James Reitano – illustration


Madvillainy 2: The Madlib Remix was released by Stones Throw in 2008, containing a complete remix of the album by Madlib as a part of a Madvillain box set.[19]


Chart (2004) Peak
US Billboard 200 179
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 80
US Billboard Top Independent Albums 10
US Billboard Top Heatseekers Albums 9


  1. ^ a b "Critic Reviews for Madvillainy". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  2. ^ Stones Throw Records
  3. ^ Isles, Jack LV. Review: Madvillainy. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide: Madvillainy". The Village Voice: August 3, 2004. Archived from the original on 2009-11-14.
  5. ^ Hermes, Will. Review: Madvillainy. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  6. ^ Frere-Jones, Sasha. Review: Madvillainy. The New Yorker. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  7. ^ Pemberton, Rollie. Sylvester, Nick. Review: Madvillainy. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  8. ^ O'Neil, Tim. Review: Madvillainy. PopMatters. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  9. ^ Henderson, Eric. Review: Madvillainy. Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  10. ^ Young, Nate De. Review: Madvillainy. Stylus Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  11. ^ Oma, Will. Review: Madvillainy. Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  12. ^ Johnson, Sherman. Review: Madvillainy. The Village Voice. Retrieved on 2009-11-14.
  13. ^ "HipHopDX's Top 10 Albums of the 00's" Retrieved 09 July 2010.
  14. ^ "Rhapsody's 100 Best Albums of the Decade" Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  15. ^ "Hip-Hop’s Best Albums of the Decade" Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  16. ^ "Staff Lists: The Top 100 Albums of 2000-04 | Features". Pitchfork. 2005-02-07. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  17. ^ "Staff Lists: The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 50-21 | Features". Pitchfork. 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  18. ^ "The 100 best indie hip-hop records of all time". Fact. February 25, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Madvillainy 2: The Box | Stones Throw Records". 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 

External links[edit]