After listening to our heavily copy-protected version of Madvillainy, it appears that the belated MF Doom and Madlib collabo has weathered the storm. Uploaded onto the Web last year by a gang of dastardly file-swappers, Madvillainy's premature ejaculation cost Stones Throw and everyone involved a shitload of cash, not to mention pissed-off fans who had a firm 2003 release date in mind. Yet with all the bullshit and all the soap-opera plot twists, Madvillain's album has emerged more beautifully twisted than ever. Soaked in esoteric TV theme songs, clever anti-hero wordology, and beats so good you understand why they were shared on Napster, Madvillainy is a Pumping Iron-style flex of the duo's considerable mental muscle. With the exception of "Shadows of Tomorrow" (featuring Lord Quas), Madlib strictly mans the decks, while the half-man/half-amazing Doom/Vaughn persona tests the limits of verbal abstraction. Yeah, this is a nice album. Bootleggers should throw down a 20 for the cover art alone.