Written by Orianna Davniero
One of the most special things that can happen in the music industry is when an artist can not only create their own standards within their art but go even further outside of their own box. This is a quality that was especially seen in the works of New York City rapper, MF DOOM. Labeled as one of the most influential and genius rappers of his all time, MF DOOM combined both personal and cultural aspects into his music, with spurts of cartoon audios and freestyle rhymes throughout his music. But while his rhymes are important on their own, MF DOOM went beyond just rapping and coordinated his own instrumental album, Special Herbs: The Box Set.
Daniel Dumile, better known as MF DOOM, was an artist who thrived in the shadows. He created poetry in his rhymes, and his songs know no bounds. He is often credited with creating rhymes out of thin air, out of words that may not even make sense, but yet they somehow mesh in a really cool, unique way. He also is known to sample cartoon audios throughout his songs, such as in his song “Sofa King,” in which he samples a scene from the adult cartoon, Aqua Teen Hunger Force (which just so happens to be one of my favorite shows). He uses a wide variety of creative intel to create this unique villain-esque character that he displayed throughout his career. His offstage presence was more of a mystery, as he had multiple characters that fluctuated throughout his career, such as Metal Fingers and MADVILLAIN (all caps when you spell the name). MF DOOM was an artist way ahead of his time and he has been acknowledged by some of the most iconic rappers of today’s generation, such as Tyler, The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, and Drake, just to name a few.
The album Special Herbs: Vol 0-9 is a unique album in its own way. While one may expect the album to be a classic Doom rap album, it is surprisingly only made up of instrumental beats. This album is a specific curation of short instrumental songs that combine aspects of funk, jazz, and hip hop. Lucky for us, this specific album includes all volumes of the Metal Fingers special, leaving us with an acclimation of uniquely titled songs, labeled by various spices and greens. One of my favorites off this album is the song Lavender Buds, which not only includes a striking instrumental, but spoken words as well. The song, while short, has an amazing progression and a unique vocal aspect that is just so pleasing and groovy. Another one of my favorites off this album is titled Saffron, which features a cartoon voice over and amazing record-scratch work. This song can also be heard in one of MF DOOM’s most popular songs, Doomsday (featured on the album Operation: Doomsday).
This album is special to me because the songs are so simple and enjoyable. There is not a single song off this album that wont appeal to the varying different tastes of music that we all have. That’s what makes this album, as well as MF DOOM himself, so special; it is appealing to everyone while still being true to that East Coast style of Hip Hop. That’s why MF DOOM is labeled as “your favorite rappers’ favorite rapper.” He is sorely missed by the musical community and his widely ranging discography will continue to live on as an inspiration to other musical talents out there. This album is just a fraction of the amazing work MF DOOM has out there, and I encourage everyone to really dive deep into Doom’s discography and find something that speaks to you!