One of the underground’s brightest stars, emcee/producer MF Doom entered the game over a decade ago, as Zev Luv X of the pioneering New York crew KMD. After recording two albums with them, he was forced by industry shadiness and personal tragedy into seclusion, reemerging as Doom a few years ago. He came back strong with his classic solo debut Operation: Doomsday in 1999 (rereleased last year on Sub Verse Music), and has since stayed busy through numerous scene-stealing cameos. On Special Herbs, he returns with a collection of instrumentals — some old and some new — delivering tasty ear candy for hip-hop connoisseurs.
Employing a gang of absurdly catchy samples and thick, straightforward drums, the Metal Faced magician empties the cupboards for a beat buffet overflowing with flavor and charm. “Arrow Root” sports some undeniably nice jazz grooves, with wailing sax loops and mellow drums, while “Sumac Berries” rocks chilled-out organ loops and rubbery bass lines. Of the previously released jams, “Saffron” (aka “Doomsday”) is a standout, fusing a BDP beat with plush keys and busy scratching.
The first edition in an ongoing series of instrumental LPs from Doom, Special Herbs is an excellent start. Quality tunes, diverse styles, and top-notch sample selections make this a winner start to finish. Whether you’re a fan of his earlier work, or just down for choice beats slightly left-of-center, this is a recording you don’t want to miss.