Some producers and emcees just work perfectly together. Think of all of the classic music made by DJ Premier and Guru, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Havoc and Prodigy, Kanye West and Jay-Z, Ant and Slug, etc. MF Doom (aka The Metal Face Villain aka Victor Vaughn aka King Geedorah) has been putting out album after album by alter ego after alter ego. Doom’s production work not only has a signature style but also has a whole other level of fans. Doom’s partner in crime, MF Grimm has had an extremely painful life. Grimm was confined to a wheelchair and even in jail. Grimm and Doom actually released an EP together years ago. Grimm’s debut solo LP “The Downfall Of Iblys” (on Day By Day Entertainment) was recorded in 24 hours before he went to prison, with most of the production work done by Doom. After Grimm was released from prison, he released “Digital Tears: E-Mail From Purgatory” (also on Day By Day) by his Monsta Island Czar alter ego Jet Jaguar. While fans were eager to hear Grimm again, not one of the beats was done by Doom. Instead, Grimm produced many of the beats from a drum machine he got while in prison. (He used the name Zero Point). J-Zone, Looie, and others handled other production on “Digital Tears”. Day By Day Entertainment now releases a truly mind-blowing collaboration collection. “Special Herbs & Spices Vol. 1” is totally produced by MF Doom with MF Grimm rocking the microphone. While many fans of Doom’s production may know some of the beats from Doom’s other LPs, Grimm sounds more alive than ever. “Special Herbs & Spices Vol. 1” is a must have for both fans of MF Doom and/or MF Grimm.
Passion makes hip-hop different from any other music genre. While other genres have passionate artists, passion in hip-hop is extremely unique. Grimm has been shot, stuck in a wheelchair, and in prison. During the same time, MF Doom has been releasing albums under different names for years. Doom has become one of the most creative and most respected emcees and producers in the world of underground hip-hop. Their passion cannot be denied. The songs on “Special Herbs & Spices Vol. 1” have an intense passion that makes this LP wonderfully interesting and emotional. Grimm proclaims, “I’ve come to piss n*ggas off!” The song “10 Years Later” uses the same beat for “Crazy World” that was on King Geedorah’s “Take Me To Your Leader” LP. Grimm uses this amazing beat as a tribute to his slain comrade. It is almost as if you can hear his tears in his delivery. The beat perfectly fits this track. “Bottle Rocket” is another brutally violent and angry track that has Grimm using a microphone to rage. “Rain Blood Pt. 2” uses the same beat as Part One but Grimm just rocks the mic with his flow and lyrics. The thick MF Doom beat on the bonus track “My Love” makes it an instant classic. “Through these beats, I send my love” , Grimm raps. The sentimentality along with the idea of using hip-hop to unite people displays Grimm not only as a 3 dimensional emcee but also as a deep human being who explores all of his emotions.
Another beautiful aspect of hip-hop is creativity and MF Doom and MF Grimm are overflowing with concepts and themes. Together, they never go wrong. “Tick Tick Pt. 2” begins with a sample of Hall & Oates “I Can’t Go For That”. Using the same beat as “The Final Hour” from the King Geedorah LP, the beat changes drastically to become something completely different and unique. Throughout the entire the song, the beat slows down and speeds up and then, slows down again. Grimm stays on top of the beat the entire time. “Shifting Lanes” features Kurious (from KMD) and uses the same beat as “Fastlane” from the King Geedorah LP. “Tonight’s Show” features Invisible Man and Lord Smog of M.I.C. Using a looped sample from a familiar television game show, the emcees rock the mic about a show that they will make sure never happens. “Stress Box” is a delightful and realistic look at the pressures of answering machines. For those who loved “Escape From Monsta Island” LP by Monsta Island Czars, there is a hidden track (that is after the other hidden track) that calls all monsters to Monsta Island. Using the same beat-box beat “The Fine Print” from the final track on King Geedorah’s LP, Grimm rocks the mic again.
Fat Man Scoop handles the “Intro” and “Outro” with a grace and a charm. The segments are just long enough to get the listener in the mood without being annoying or overdone.
“Special Herbs & Spices Vol. 1” is an excellent mixture of MF Doom on production and MF Grimm on the microphone. The only minor problem with this collection of songs is that many of the beats can be heard on “Take Me To Your Leader” by King Geedorah. While those beats are incredible, it would be nice to hear more brand new fresh production like on “My Love”. Still, this shows that Grimm can rock a mic over beats you heard before and that he feels right at home over Doom’s production. While Grimm’s previous releases “The Downfall Of Iblys” and “Digital Tears” were more complete albums, “Special Herbs & Spices Vol. 1” is more of a collection or compilation of Doom-produced cuts. Still, there is not one bad track on this CD. Perhaps, the rawness of this collection adds to the charm. Together, MF Grimm and MF Doom make excellent collaborations. “Special Herbs & Spices Vol. 1” is an instant classic.