MF Doom

Special Herbs, Vols. 9-0

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The villainous one returns with another set of instrumentals and backing tracks used previously on his proper releases. While it's a great way to study the groovy loops and the perfect edits MF Doom creates, newcomers should know that tracks are untouched for the most part, not mind-blowing turntable workouts or grand remixes. That's cool for Doom fans, since his lyric-filled albums require mucho attention to really work their magic. Instead, the Special Herbs series provides those cool Doom grooves as background music, perfect for practicing your pimp walk, your MC skills, or your ability to adhere to the "puff, puff, give" policy. In fact, Special Herbs, Vols. 9 & 0 is less manipulated than usual; arguably the most dryly presented volume in the series. This works just fine for Doom's breezier beats as of late, with the loosest and most languid given extra time to stretch. The first half of the album rolls along nicely till the Laibach-meets-human-beatbox "'Untitled' (Meditation)" mashes things up. The second half ducks and weaves a bit more along with being funkier and firmly '70s. The risky bits come at the end with the frantic "Coca Leaf" hiccupping up a wailing diva, while "Peach Extract" brings the show to a close with a campy, Brazilian tickle. It adds up to the best flow the Special Herbs series has ever displayed and a great way to introduce Doom's unique production style to the groove-friendly.

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