MF DOOM
Special Herbs: The Box Set


4.5
superb

Review

by IAJP USER (42 Reviews)
August 29th, 2010 | 48 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: DOOM may not say a word on this release, but his influence and guiding metal hand are as obvious and as strong as ever.

The term 'instrumental hip-hop' is one that seems to be clouded somewhat. To me, the phrase suggests simply the beats and musical backing of hip-hop, minus the rapping and the lyrics. Obviously not though, as artists like Flying Lotus, Bonobo and Blockhead make a living from sample heavy, glitch ridden electronica; a style of music that would pass as hip-hop backing, but that is ultimately not sonically limited to just that.

In that case, MF DOOM's Special Herbs collection must surely rank amongst hip-hop fans as the definitive, and one true instrumental hip hop album. It is quite simply a collection of 80 tracks compiled by DOOM himself to back his own raps, released in collections and now compiled in a hugely expansive boxset. No other concept, no original work, just his maddeningly infectious and ultimately wonderfully constructed beats and excellently sourced samples.

It's bizarre to think why he released Special Herbs at times though. Was it simply so fledgling MC's could practice in their bedroom without the hassle or worry of having to become the next J-Dilla? Or was it even more simple - a huge showoff ploy for DOOM, one that enables him to show everyone just how good he is at beat construction, from the most abstract and esoteric sources?

Regardless, Special Herbs is a huge piece of work, over four and a half hours in length, and it goes without saying that a single listen would be not only bizarre, pointless and impossible; it's simply not built to be listened to like that. Indeed, following on with a strange Herbs theme, DOOM couldn't have picked a better loose concept for his song titles, as each one when picked feels like a daring culinary experiment ('Oh go on, I'll try Saffron. Oh bloody hell that's the instrumental of "Doomsday"..Excellent').

It's that simple: tracks can, and are picked from random, and generally throw up an excellent experience, one of wonder at his skills, amusement at some of the vocal samples ('Before we go any further', from Myyrh, the backing track to Deep Fried Frenz) and general amazement at such consistency of the artist in question. Indeed, it's a testament to this album's depth that upon listening, respect for Dumile (somehow) manages to skyrocket. He does everything in his own warped world, from the production, the excellent lyrical wordplay he manages to untangle all over the twisted and somewhat deliberately untuned and low-key style, to the clear passionate research he undertakes into Godzilla and Fantastic Four comic books.

DOOM's beats are so easy to appreciate that it's at times so joyous to see them being constructed so easily - but it's also extremely irritating that he is able to do it so seamlessly and seemingly by chance. DOOM is a talented rapper, absolutely no doubt at all about that, but it is when he's saying nothing at all that you truly realise what a talent he is, his overbearing and sometimes uncomfortably weird backing tracks sound isolated, glorious and nude without his lo-fi flow and bizarre stream of consciousness lyrics, and that is why this is an essential instrumental hip-hop collection.

Recommended tracks:
Eucalyptus (Herbs 1&2)
Saffron (Herbs 1&2)
Mullien (Herbs 1&2)
Shallots (Herbs 1&2)
Nettle Leaves (Herbs 1&2)
Galangal Root (Herbs 5&6)
Coffin Nails (Herbs 5&6)
Pennroyal (Herbs 5&6)
Burdock Root (Herbs 9&10)



Recent reviews by this author
Hurts HappinessA Tribe Called Quest People's Instinctive Travels & The Paths of Rhythm
Gang Starr Hard to EarnWu-Tang Clan Iron Flag
!!! Strange Weather, Isn't It?Husker Du Warehouse: Songs and Stories
user ratings (104)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
vanderb0b
August 29th 2010


3473 Comments


Good review, this sounds interesting.

PurpleDrank
August 29th 2010


417 Comments


nice review, album has some great beats.. definately doom in his prime as a producer

IAJP
August 29th 2010


378 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cheers fellas. i also love your username purple drank. lolll.

Fort23
August 29th 2010


2475 Comments


i usually love stuff like this (madlib, J dilla, flying lotus) but whenever i hear doom beats i get a little bored. good review.

porch
August 29th 2010


8460 Comments


Good review, can't really get into this guy though

Psilocyanide
August 29th 2010


1823 Comments


This is good... but personally I prefer metal finger beats with doom rapping over them.

Bulldog
August 29th 2010


3796 Comments


Gotta love some DOOM.

Fort23
August 29th 2010


2475 Comments


vaudeville villain is really good.

IAJP
August 29th 2010


378 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

man i am hooked on DOOM's beat on the ghostface track 'jellyfish'. sooo good. thanks for the feedback guys.

Fort23
August 29th 2010


2475 Comments


hes got a good beat on guns'n'razors too, off more fish.

Rev
August 29th 2010


9423 Comments


I love this

EDIT: Wooh! 100 comments

Inveigh
August 29th 2010


24968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review man, this got lots of spins from me back in the day. my only issue with it (compared to buying Volumes 0-9 individually) is that the beats are often really short on here, where if you just get each volume on its own they're like 4 minutes long.

and if you use these for rapping with your friends, the longer beats are nice

Urinetrouble
August 29th 2010


5760 Comments


gonna' check this out real soon

Fort23
August 29th 2010


2475 Comments


"and if you use these for rapping with your friends, the longer beats are nice"

hell yes.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2010


31168 Comments


Sorry for stretching out the review dude, but I had to add the tracklisting in. Tidied up the artwork though, so don't hate me too much k

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

IAJP
August 29th 2010


378 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

no worries man, glad the tracklisting is up there. obviously i reviewed it having the individual volumes and sorta compiling them together. i think disc 3 is unrelated, seems to me to be KMD stuff, a group dumile was a part of before he became DOOM.

IAJP
August 29th 2010


378 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

also @ Inveigh. I agree, the longer beats on the individual releases are much better, as i just said as well i kinda viewed this as a huge continuum of each release, the boxset is a good idea for the sheer weight and gravity of work on here, but the individual releases are truly better. rap snitches, tellin all their business!

fromtheinside
August 29th 2010


18257 Comments


i don't think 82 tracks is enough.

Digging: Tragedy - Vengeance

FlyLordz
August 30th 2010


54 Comments


I used to rap battle all the time to this stuff. I will challenge Inveigh. Ha. No really I will.

IAJP
August 31st 2010


378 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah i love spitting stupid shit to this album..i gotta "best of herbs" playlist, which IMO are the best / funnest / easiest to spit to, i love myrrh, and saffron.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy