Last Wednesday at 3:00 I was hosting my show, Rhythm’n’Rhyme on air. Half way through the show, the station phone begins to ring. Much to my delight it was a listener who told me they were enjoying the show, and even made a request! They wanted to hear some MF Doom, particularly from the album “MM...FOOD”. As someone who loves MF Doom, and food, this is by far my favorite album of theirs. So I happily oblige and play one of my favorite tracks, Guinessess. While the song does not feature the Vaudeville Villain’s voice, it showcases artist 4ize on the hook, and Angelika on the verses, with the song produced by MF Doom. The recency of my consumption of the song inspired me to delve further into the themes and motifs presented in the song and the overall album.
Guinnesses is a song about the trials of love and struggling to cope with the loss of a lover. The speaker voices her contempt for their partner saying that they “Thought it was love like sent from above you not a soulmate” when their reality is that their partner is “more ways and actions of a primate.” This juxtaposition between what is hoped for and what is hard truth is surmised in the line “Holding onto fantasy, getting bitten by reality” which is a core theme throughout the song.
The hook’s opening line “war wound, Purple Heart, love veteran” has many meanings. First, it compares love to war, the emotional injuries being likened to lasting war trauma. Especially in the line: “Morphine, pain killers, drugs and medicine, anything just to forget the hurt.” Purple Heart has a few meanings, obviously being an allegory to the Medal of Honor, but could also be thought of as a bruised heart, that our “love veteran” has from suffering from heartbreak.
We see our speaker fall into the use of drugs to cope with their breakup claiming “I shoulda headed it from genesis instead of hitting’ the Guinnesses.” The second verse clears up more about the relationship our speaker had with her partner. She believes her partner is out there “never stop balling women” and this gives us insight into her feelings about this person. Her line “maybe it’s a lack of pigment, loneliness imagine figment” might suggest that her relationship experienced trouble stemming from their racial differences. We even get the clue that their relationship was rather serious in the line “weren’t we supposed to elope?”
The speaker is dealing with the pain of heartbreak and seem to be finding their respite in not only drugs, but other people. They claim that “rushing lust and fornication adding to the complication.” They are likely finding the need to experiment, or in other words “get back out there” in order to remedy their condition. It seems like they are beggining to find peace and regain their strength. This is found in the line “gentlemen, my favorite shit, so I’ve never forsaken it” suggesting that while they are in turmoil, they don’t carry any future cynicism that prevents them from being happy.
The song encapsulates love in a unique way. Even by focusing on the pain of love, they do not discredit the joy and happiness that can be achieved through the bond of another person. But the picture the speaker paints shows a realistic depiction of love as a war with both successes and defeats