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Special Herbs, Vol. 1

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Album Review

Containing instrumental versions of previously released vocal tracks (everything from MF Doom's Operation: Doomsday to his work with K.M.D. and Monster Island Czars is represented here), a handful of previously vinyl-only cuts and some borrowed guest tracks from the likes of DJ Spinna, DJ Cucumber Slice, and Doom's long-lamented little brother DJ Sub-Roc, Special Herbs, Vol. 1 & 2 is a mish-mash of prog-inflected beats and crackpot schematics that wavers between being a little overlong and flirting with divine inspiration. Longtime fans shouldn't be fooled by the seemingly fresh track titles, though — in keeping with the album's theme, even the most familiar beats have been renamed. In spite of MF Doom's signature production, which casts prog music's liquid tones on a variety of organic instruments, a few of these recycled cuts ("Arrow Root," "Mullein") suffer from repetition when unveiled in instrumental form. Sandwiched between some of the more trying loops, however, are some dazzlingly inventive offerings, namely the '70s cop-drama squeal of "Coriander," the rolling crush of "Fenugreek," the wiffly flutes of "Nettle Leaves," and the plush, liquid soul of "Monosodium Glutamate." Even the much-maligned low-budget game show cheese of "Zatar" deserves a nod, if nothing else than for its sheer imagination.

Biography

Born: 09 January 1971 in London, England

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Patterning his persona and logo after the Marvel Comics super villain Dr. Doom, the man behind MF (Metal Face) Doom's iron mask is actually Daniel Dumile, aka Zevlove X, a member of former Big Apple hip-hoppers K.M.D. First featured on the 3rd Bass single "The Gas Face," the London-born, Long Island-raised Zev made his debut with K.M.D. a couple of years later, along with his younger brother and musical partner, DJ Sub-Roc. The 1991 album Mr. Hood, released on Elektra Records, was part of a short-lived...
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Special Herbs, Vol. 1, MF Doom
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