The Herbaliser

Herbal Blend

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AllMusic Review by

The third volume in the always excellent Solid Steel series comes from another close Ninja Tune associate, the Herbaliser project of Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba. Excepting only DJ Vadim, Wherry and Teeba are the most hip-hop-obsessed artists on Ninja Tune, and they deliver a volume with fewer of the track-meets-track mash-ups of previous volumes (helmed by DJ Food & DK and Hexstatic), but succeed anyway with a syrupy midtempo flow of underground rap and soundtrack funk, a winning track selection, and world-class pacing. (The last two should come as no surprise, considering the quality control on continual display on the Solid Steel releases.) The best moments are the changeups, such as when Mass Influence's excellent rhyme "Analyze" gives way to the go-go singalong funk of Chicago Gangsters' "Gangster Boogie," or when listeners consult the credits to find that an a cappella of "Verbal Anime" (featuring Dilated Peoples' Rakaa-Iriscience) is appearing over soundtrack music from the 1976 Burt Reynolds-Jerry Reed slapstick vehicle Gator. Highlights, though, are all over this mix, including the prime '80s video game electro of Arcade Funk's "Tilt" and remixes of two familiar dance tracks (though of previous eras), DJ Shadow's "The Number Song" and Deee-Lite's "Groove Is in the Heart."

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:42
2 1:21
3
feat: Cherrystones
2:42
4
feat: Rodney P
2:07
5
feat: Harmonic 33
1:56
6 4:07
7 3:18
8 2:37
9 1:53
10
feat: DJ Shadow
3:14
11
feat: Jean Grae
1:36
12 3:18
13
feat: Carol Kaye
1:23
14
feat: Steinski
3:20
15 1:05
16
feat: MC Shan
3:57
17
feat: DJ Food
3:52
18 1:29
19 1:00
20
feat: Deee-Lite
1:56
21
feat: Fourth World
2:49
22
feat: Arcade Funk
4:24
23 5:46
blue highlight denotes track pick