29 April 2020

"Rapp Snitch Knishes" by MF Doom ft. Mr. Fantastik (2004)

Recently the homey sent me some track by MF Doom alongside Mr. Fantastik called Anti-Matter (2003) to listen to.  I wasn't really feelin' it, but at the same time I was intending to write something about MF Doom for the longest.  So instead I decided to focus on another song he dropped with Mr. Fantastik, called Rapp Snitch Knishes, which I think all fans of MF Doom would agree is one of his classics.

MF Doom in late 2017.  His schtick, outside of numerous
references to cartoons, science fiction and such is that he
wears a metal mask like his gutu, Marvel Comics' Doctor Doom.

Out of every underground rapper that I know of, MF Doom is the one whereas I am most-baffled as to how he never made it mainstream.  Not only is he a proficient rapper, but his production skills are off the hook.  In fact I consider his Special Herbs, Vols. 5 & 6 (2004) to be my favorite instrumental album of all-time.

MF Doom produced four tracks on
Ghostface Killah's Fishscale (2006) album. 
But that being said, as aforementioned his mainstream activities have been sparse.  Most notably he produced a few tracks for Ghostface Killah in 2006.  But he has also done production for Wu-Tangers Masta Killa (2006) and Hell Razah (2007).

Perhaps MF Doom never really wanted to go mainstream.  Or maybe, considering that many of the tracks he produces depend on what are likely unapproved samples, doing so wouldn't have been wise.  But here's some interesting sh*t - I just now found out that dude is actually British, not American.

Meanwhile Mr. Fantastik is one of his collaborators.  According to Genius he has only dropped two tracks throughout his career, both in collaboration with MF Doom.  It has been speculated that "Mr. Fantastik" may actually be an alias of Bronx-based rapper Count Bass D, who participated on another track on Mm... Food entitled Potholderz.  But either way, the moniker "Mr. Fantastik" is a satirical misspelling of the Marvel Comics' character Mr. Fantastic, with MF Doom also being the namesake of another Fantastic Four mainstay, Dr. Doom.


First off this song is indeed about snitching, more specifically when such is done by rappers.  The "knishes" mentioned in the title is actually a reference to a type of food which, to my remembrance, was like a beef patty though filled with potatoes instead of meat.  In other words the "knishes" don't have anything to do with the song itself but is rather in keeping with the ovearll motif of Mm... Food, the album it is featured on.

As for the actual subject of the song, it is about rappers who turn snitches, i.e. government informants.  So the lyrics jump in between the rappers dissing such individuals and braggadocious subject matter, as in biggin-up themselves.

For instance Mr. Fantastik presents himself as someone who is always ready to "ride", as in engage in some good ol' fashioned street violence in support of his homeys.  It also seems that his moniker is actually a metaphor pointing to his money being "long... like elastic", which is a roundabout shoutout to the aforementioned Mr. Fantastic cartoon character, who has stretching super powers.  But then he goes on to diss an unnamed "fake gangsta" rapper who, in the midst of getting in some type of legal trouble, rats on his homeys and cohorts.

Meanwhile MF Doom's verse is more centered on the actual snitch at hand.  In fact at times it reads as if the rappers are talking about a specific person(s), but the lyrics are too vague to pin down who exactly.  Anyway, he goes about insinuating that the informant should be dealt with the street way and is even in hiding due to the prospect of such.  And it is also implied throughout that this person has a tendency to talk too much for his own good, even on his songs as opposed to only when he's in court.

Tekashi 6ix9ine, whom many people feel is a real-life
'rapp snitch knish'
Rapp Snitch Knish recently gained newfound attention due to trial of Tekashi 6ix9ine.  Indeed some even feel the song foretold of the event itself, a courtroom drama with Tekashi, a hardcore street rapper by profession, instead starring as the State's witness and subsequently a couple of homeys being knocked, a whole lot of names being dropped, and 6ix9ine himself receiving a relatively-light sentence and even coming home earlier than scheduled due to the threat of the coronavirus (while the judge told one of his co-defendants no).  So in a lot of ways the character portrayed in the song - especially in the chorus as noted in the abovelinked article - does indeed read like Tekashi, though he hasn't necessarily been laying low since his release.


This song was of course produced by MF Doom himself - one of the greatest producers in the history of rap music as far as I'm concerned.  The instrumental samples a song Dave Matthews dropped back in 1977 called Space Oddity.

The lyrics were written by MF Doom and Mr. Fantastik.  Entire songwriting teams and ghostwriters weren't as common in rap music back then as they are today, not that underground rappers utilize those types of resources anyway.

Rapp Snitch Knishes was released as part of Mm... Food on 16 November 2004.  The label that put it out, which is based in Minneapolis, is called Rhymesayers Entertainment.  And if you look at their roster list, the most-notable names on it are actually non-comformist rappers.

The cover art to MF Doom's Mm... Food (2004),
which I think is safe to say is his greatest work to date.

It seems as if MF Doom isn't even really active in the music game these days.  He had a personal tragedy a couple of years ago which may contribute to this reality.  But either way, he still appreciated for the music he put out during his heyday, especially Mm... Food.  And if anyone out there who hasn't heard it yet is interested in a hip-hop concept album so to speak, I suggest that they give it a try.

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