Special Herbs Box Set
Nature Sounds, 2006
For fans of: MF DOOM, Madlib, seventies soul, jazz, and am radio, herbs.
Metal Fingers is yet another MF DOOM/Zev Lov X/Daniel Dumille alter ego, this time applied to DOOM's instrumental "Special Herbs" series. There are 9 volumes of "Special Herbs" spread out over five discs. This set collects 150 of the best moments from the series, along with a bonus disc of KMD beats.
Those expecting a head-bobbing experience will be a little disappointed. The album is more or less like Madlib's "Beat Konducta" album (see below), but less innovative and brilliant. Mostly, DOOM samples old jazz, soul, and am radio hits and makes beats out of them. Some of them he gives the Puffy treatment and pretty much doesn't fuck with at all. For the most part it works, although there were moments, mostly on the second disc, where his slightly artless beatmaking bugged, ie inexpertly looping an overlong sample too many times.
The first disc is a little mellower, and makes great background music. Put this on during your next dinner party or booty call. Disc 2 seemed to be more experimental, more uptempo beats, and that's the one that bugged me at times. The best moments on the first two discs were when beats he's used on other projects would surface, like from Ghostface Killah's "Fishscale". I was also very excited to hear the funky theme music that used to play over the end credits of Sesame Street. Overall, the compilation is well worth your $22.00 bucks just in terms of space and time saved by not having to buy a bunch of old records and picking out the few decent moments off of them. That's what crate-diggers are for - giving light to the obscure, and saving us the time of finding good breaks on lame records.
My favorite disc was the KMD beats. These were much more what I have in mind when I think "hip-hop" instrumental. They were funky, with that classic late 80's/early nineties sound, boom-bap beats, and brilliant samples, like the beat constructed around Bert of Sesame Street humming.
If you have all the "Special Herbs" albums, or are enough of an MF DOOM enthusiast to want them all, give this a skip. However, for the rest of us, this is a great and ample taste of MF DOOM's many talents. You should buy it quick, though, because less than 10,000 were manufactured.
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