Various Artists
Solid Steel Presents The Herbaliser - Herbal Blend

By Masta G

The latest installation in the series of Solid Steel mixes has the Herbaliser at the controls for an adeptly put together journey through assorted funk and classic hip hop, which reflects the eclecticism of Coldcut’s radio show. Fans of Ollie Teeba and co. will appreciate the tracks included from their own back catalogue, including some unusual mash ups (Herbaliser vs John Lydon), remixes and an intro which cuts together a number of highlights from their long career. They find a place for the UK bashment styles of Rodney P’s Riddim Killa as well as usual suspects DJ Shadow and DJ Food and there's some dirty funk from the Quantic Soul Orchestra along with Deelite’s party classic Groove Is in the Heart. One particularly inspired section follows the Chicago Gangsters’ funk classic Gangster Boogie with a mash up of Wu Tang Clan’s brass inflected Uzi instrumental and the Herbaliser’s own It Ain’t Nothin’ and tops that by fusing Jay Dee’s Fuck The Police with Run DMC’s Sucker MCs.

As often happens with these things, the unmixed vinyl features few of the gems from the CD. While the scratching, effects and mixing are generally very impressive, it does occasionally feel like the Herbaliser are over-egging their hip hop pudding and some of the tunes are losing out a bit. But mostly there’s just the right blend of rare grooves and stone cold classics and this should appeal to anyone whose into old or new funk/soul, classic hip hop or the Herbaliser’s own enjoyably funky sound.
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