MF DOOM and Madlib in the studio together with an SP-303 underneath them. (Credit: Eric Coleman)

“I Don’t Remember the Samples I Use. Hell No.” — The Story of ‘Madvillainy’

Gino Sorcinelli
Jul 21, 2018 · 15 min read

A look inside Stones Throw Studios via The Vinyl Factory.

“A lot of the beats on ‘100 Beats’, you can’t use, ’cause I’m just fucking around and freestyling. Some of ’em might be so way out, ’cause I’m just using what I have.” — Madlib

Lootpack’s official “Hityawitdat” music video.

“Cuts like ‘Raid’ I did in my hotel room in Brazil on a portable turntable, my (Boss SP) 303, and a little tape deck.” — Madlib

Promo shot of KMD. (Let to right: Zev Love X aka MF DOOM, Subroc, and Onyx)

“I know how I want it to sound, and if you liked how it sounded (on the beat CD), well, take the beat or not. Once it’s done, it’s done.” — Madlib

Madlib making a hotel room 303 beat in Brazil in the documentary ‘Brasilintime’.
Madlib’s studio setup in Brazil. (Credit: Eric Coleman)
The official “Strange Ways” music video.

“I was keeping Brazilian time, sitting in my room smoking some terrible weed and sampling shit, while everyone else was out partying and getting drunk.” — Madlib

The official “Accordion” music video.

“I never knew you could make an entire album without hooks and have it sound that good. That album showed me that music has no rules.” — Danny Brown

The official “All Caps” music video.

“They were like, ‘Fuck it, I’m done. Madlib started on other stuff, and DOOM, well, you never know what he’s doing.” — Jeff Jank

The official “Fancy Clown” video.
Madlib in the Bomb Shelter during the making of ‘Madvillainy’. (Credit: Eric Coleman)
The video for “Monkey Suite” from ‘Chrome Children Vol. 1’.

“All that other stuff? Sugar coat. Extra. Totally extra. Stay focused. Cut and dry. The beat is dope, the rhyme dope? Record it, let everybody hear it.” — MF DOOM

The Spotify version of ‘Madvillainy’.

“I ain’t have a record player. I bought it on vinyl just to stare at the album. I stared at it and I just kept going, ‘I understand you.’” — Mos Def

The Spotify version of ‘Madvillainy 2: The Madlib Remix’.

“He’d hear a joint and that’s my conversation with him. Then I’d hear a beat and that’s like what he’s saying to me. And still to this day that’s how we do it.” — MF DOOM

MF DOOM taking a break from recording ‘Madvillainy’. (Credit: Eric Coleman)


Dissecting beatmaking, DJing, rapping, and sampling.

Gino Sorcinelli

Written by

Freelance journalist @Ableton, ‏@HipHopDX, @okayplayer, @Passionweiss, @RBMA, @ughhdotcom + @wearestillcrew. Creator of and @bookshelfbeats.


Dissecting beatmaking, DJing, rapping, and sampling.