Review Summary: When people talk about being crazy on their albums, they usually aren't. But I think we'll all give Kool Keith the benefit of the doubt that he is in fact, bat shit crazy. But that is transcended only by his genius writing ability."Fuck Octagon! Ask me about Fuckin' Shit! Fuckin' ask me about that Fuckin' Shit again! I ain't doin' that type of Shit. You motherfuckers think I'm crazy, right... I know... BUT I AM..."
It's obvious that Kool Keith is not a fan of popular rap artists. And when he began to get famous with Dr. Octagon, he even had to hate on himself. He begins the album by killing his alter ego, literally. Throughout the record Kool Keith becomes Dr. Dooom, And that gives him every excuse to make the darkest, most disturbing CD that rap has seen since the Gravediggaz
. But the best part about the album is that none of it seems forced. Other rappers try talking about guns and murder every single song (Most of the stuff that's popular right now), or going for shock value on every song (Bizarre from D-12), or worst of all: wearing face paint and putting out an album ever other year about how psychotic they are, only turning out to be Christians who want to go to heaven. Aww, how cute.
Rather than beating you to death with an image, Dr. Dooom just speaks what's on his mind. The album covers topics from ***ty, formulaic rappers, his affinity for bald headed girls, his shopping list, and his own fans.
For someone who doesn't like mainstream attention, there are 3 tracks that could've been singles. the most obvious is "I Run Rap". With a minimalist, but disturbing beat and some nice samples, Dr. Dooom reminds all other rappers that they have absolutely nothing on him. "You don't wanna step in my cell. I'll eat your ass for real. Even veterans go out with tight pants and lipstick."
Making fun of all those rappers that have sold out right before our eyes. "Look at your contracts, while Vaseline, smears your butt crack"
Another record highlight is the first actual song, aptly titled "No Chorus", with almost no percussion, the song's focus is attacking rappers who have lost their way, telling them their "cadence is off"
and that they're all surrounded by yes-men who are afraid to tell them they suck. It almost seems like he's calling out 1 or 2 rappers in particular. And the song "Mental Case" is surprisingly accessible, with the best production on the album. The best part about the production is that it only works for Dr. Dooom. None of the rappers on Billboard charts could even begin to fit their lyrics with these beats. The song also boasts the best Chorus of the album (with help from Jacky Jasper).
"Apartment 223" revolves around an obscure sample of a creepy voice saying "I'm very hungry"
. The beat is almost campy, but fits the subject matter perfectly. Dr. Dooom only has two guests throughout the record: Jacky Jasper, and Motion Man, who is on almost every Kool Keith related record. "Housing Authority" is extremely original. It's about the extremely dangerous job of being Dr. Dooom's landlord. Motion Man does a good job of being as odd as Dooom without trying too hard. "You live at home with your mom" is another great song with a minimalist beat, and an awesome chorus, not to mention the funniest lines of the album: " Star struck with one buck, your girl look like Donald Duck Party-figure perpetrator, undercover hater Smell your cheap cologne in the elevator Dope you smoke, half of y'all can't never touch the mink coat with your four carat white gold you look like you're pantomiming"
But the finest production can be found on "Dr. Dooom is in the room", it is successful in being creepy and original, it's another one of those songs that even a casual rap fan could enjoy (That's not guaranteed, though)
It's kind of dumb that I'm talking about these songs being potential hits and surprisingly accessible, when they were made to be anything but that. It's almost like he's trying to hide the album from casual rap fans. Which works throughout most of the album. A great example of this is "Body bag" which despite it's slow drum beat is all over the place, including samples of an old movie and one of his own songs ("Sly we fly" from Sex Style) and some scratching, which is less prevalent in this record compared to other Kool Keith works. Another odd, but great song is "Call the cops" featuring Jacky Jasper, which has a beat that's somewhere between a Blaxxploitation film and a campy old horror movie soundtrack. And best of all, the song is full of awesome one-liners: "While ya'll talk gangsta I push body parts in shopping carts"
, & "The police department scared to look at my apartment Three weeks ago I dumped a bag of legs with beer kegs Went to Ralph’s and bought a six pack and some eggs Seen my face in the paper with a beard, went home and shaved Took out your bodies in the pickup truck back to the grave Drinkin’ Yoo-Hoos and doughnuts, ya’ll punks think I’m so nuts".
Jasper's other appearance is on "Neighbors Next Door", which seems like he's just trying to be weird and it's okay, but it's nowhere near as good as Dooom's verses on the song. Jacky does do this successfully in "Call the cops" But perhaps the most shocking song on the album has nothing to do with a bag of penises, rats with mayonnaise, redesigning the inside of your stomach. "Leave Me Alone" is about record companies, whack rappers, and his own fans??? Yep, Dr. Dooom even has a problem with Kool Keith fan boys. Yet another example of something only Keith Thornton would do. However it doesn't come off as preachy or ungrateful. The chorus isn't really that great, and the song's production doesn't stick out like some others, but all in all it's a risk that's good to see someone take. I couldn't imagine anyone in the mainstream with the balls to call out some of their own fans.
But the main reason this album succeeds is because unlike other abstract rappers, Dr. Dooom knows when to stop and go on to a new subject. Instead of 71 minutes of disturbing sensory details and attacks of mainstream artists, he takes a minute to cover other topics. "Welfare Love" is the closest to a "Ballad" Kool Keith, or any of his other personas have ever made. It still has weird lyrics, but is still charming in it's own odd way, with almost too upbeat production. But of course, this is the only nice song on the album. "Bitch gets no love" is pretty much the opposite of "Welfare Love", sampling a 2 Live Crew song, the lyrics go from Love to hate at the drop of a hat. Another track that departs from the morbid feel of the album and focuses more on other rappers is "Side Line", I like the lyrics, love the chorus, but the production is pretty bland for me. "Brothers Feel Fly" is a little more up tempo than the rest of the album, but just doesn't have the momentum the other songs on the album do. The closer has 2 awesome songs. Of course, with any rap album, skits are to be expected. 2 don't really need to be there. The intro isn't bothersome because the murdering of Dr. Octagon is important in understanding why Dr. Dooom put this album out. And the shopping list is actually very amusing and I never skip it. "Live" has the only beat that is good no matter who's rapping over it. The lyrics are still odd, but it fits perfectly with the relentless snare of the song, and a sample of an evil laugh. After a few minutes of silence, we get to hear the funniest song of the album, called "Bald Headed Girls", it sums up the album. Weird vocal effects, an even weirder chorus and a beat that is anything but accessible.
While Kool Keith has reinvented himself more than Madonna in half the time, his lyrical focus remains the same: Calling mainstream rap artists out on their ***, his love of sexual and morbid imagery, and his never ending originality. By no means is this or any Kool Keith record right for everyone. But chances are, if you give it a chance, it could be better than anything you've heard on radio or television. Once again, Kool Keith once again reminds us that good music shouldn't find you, you need to search for good music yourself, and you'll find perfect for your specific musical taste. The line between Genius and Psycho is always hard to define, but in most cases (this album being one of those cases) is an extreme amount of both. So if you're wondering why Kool Keith chose to kill the most successful aspect of his career twice (Ultramagnetic, and Dr. Octagon), look around at artists like LL Cool J, Black Eyed Peas, and most importantly Flavor Flav. All of a sudden, leaving your most successful years behind and trying something new seems like a damn good idea.
Kool Keith has successfully created another memorable persona
Original, creepy, and entertaining
The production fits Kool Ke.... Umm Dr. Dooom perfectly
Some people might not see why so many people like Kool Keith
Production isn't perfect, and is pretty slow throughout the whole album
Lyrical content may be too weird, random, confusing for some, but not that many.
"I Run Rap"