When face mask-wearing rapper MF Doom-aka-Daniel Dumile-returned home to the US in late 2010 after only his second foreign tour in a 20-year career he met a force even a supervillain couldn't vanquish-a US immigration officer saying no. British-born Dumile moved to the US as a baby, but was never naturalised, so avoided leaving the country. But in 2010, possibly assuming his American wife and five kids would be enough to secure re-entry, he obtained a British passport and set out on tour.
On return he met with an official who "just wanted to see how many people she could make have a bad day that day". Doom didn't tell her his profession, making him the only rapper ever not to give it the Big I Am. "Imagine me saying that," he says with a laugh. "I'm no big rap star, I'm a regular guy."
Since then he's been holed up in South London. Though he can't expand on his ongoing case, except to say "there's a lot of legalities", he's putting his enforced return to London to good use, collaborating with Thom Yorke, Damon Albarn and Beth Gibbons, the latter two for upcoming album Key To The Kuffs, recorded as JJ Doom with producer Jneiro Jarel. "This record is in more of a pop-rock direction, so it wasn't too much of a leap for her," he says of the Portishead singer. "It's the record I would've made if I'd been [raised] here."
UKTV gets a look-in too, with Cockney accents and a Big Fat Gypsy Wedding reference. He's been soaking up vintage crime capers, praising Minder and The Professionals, but strangely not Inspector Morse. "I caught a couple of episodes, but the slang is so thick I can't decipher what they're talking about."
Most of all, though, he likes Britain's drink culture. "The whole alcohol thing is incredible over here," he raves. "Being able to drink outside without a policeman coming and arresting me, that's crazy." Crazy enough to make him consider relocation? "I'm done with the United States, it's no big deal."
While I don't think he's serious about not coming back to the US it probably doesn't bode well for all his upcoming collabs. JJ DOOM was supposed to come out sometime this month last I heard but that's obviously not happening. Then there's the Doomface (DOOM & Ghostface) album they keep saying they're going to make and, of course, everyone's still waiting for Madvillain 2.