After his family moved to Long Island from London, he started performing as a teenager under the name Zev Love X as part of the hip-hop group KMD, which he started with his younger brother, DJ Subroc. The group’s debut album was released in 1991, but its follow-up was shelved after Subroc was killed in a car accident in 1993.
Reeling from the death and the subsequent drop by his record label, Dumile took to the streets, sleeping on benches for several years as he wandered aimlessly. He re-emerged in the late 1990s at the Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe in Manhattan, performing while wearing a stocking mask.
In 1999, he released his debut as MF DOOM, Operation: Doomsday. A memorable stage persona also emerged, as he performed wearing a mask that reminded many of Marvel Comics character Doctor Doom.
He went on to create a series of production tracks and solo/collaborative efforts under various names. One highlight was The Mouse and the Mask with Danger Mouse. By 2009, MF DOOM and his various pseudonyms released six full-length albums. He was living in London at the time of his death, having been banned from returning to the US after a tour.
Besides his wife, the couple’s son, King Malachi Ezekiel Dumile, died in 2017 at age 14.