Review Summary: Kool Keith is usually hit or miss, but here he actually gets some help behind the boards and it pays off. A throwback to his days as Dr. Octagon when he paired up with DJ Q-Bert for Dr. Octagonecologyst.
For me, hiphop is in a state of flux. At least when comparing it to the so-called "glory days" of Wu-Tang, Biggie, 2pac, Jigga, Nas, etc. I'm just not that into hiphop anymore or at least I've been finding myself gravitating more towards my metal tastes these days. I admit that the advent of the internet has made it, for me at least, tiresome to keep up with what seems like a flavor of the month revolving door of rappers, each clamoring for their piece of the "throne." It sometimes feels like this melting pot of a community is its own gift and curse if only because a lot of the rappers today appear in a hurry to distinguish themselves from each other at the expense of their lyrical delivery and/or flow. Admittedly, I guess a part of me longs for those "glory days" of hiphop, but I wouldn't say I'm adverse to it moving on and evolving. I'm just not interested in rappers who seek to "change the game" simply for the sake of changing it. It is for this reason that I found Kool Keith's latest album such a joy to listen to. Ironically enough it was somewhat refreshing to hear something that reminded of the earlier days of hiphop. I suppose it was only fitting that it come from a guy that's been rapping for 25 years.
I don't relate to 95% of what rappers are rapping about these days. I'm not evading the DEA in my wild attempts to grow my drug empire. I don't spend my days gazing in my garage at my collection of over 200 lamborghinis, each in an obscure color. I certainly don't enjoy $5000 bottle bubbly while getting a lap dance on board of my private jet. That's not me. This is why I choose to place beat-selection as a priority over lyrics. I can mostly tolerate asinine lyrics if the beats are nice. Lately though, for me at least, there's been too many whack lyrics or whack flows over some mediocre or overly experimental beats lately. Beats are why I was able to enjoy Jigga's and Yeezy's collaboration effort, Watch the Throne
. As a matter of fact if Jigga and Yeez are today's dynamic duo, I would argue that Kool Keith and Big Sche make for proper anti-heroes in their album Magnetic Pimp Force Field
. Where JayZ & Kanye took a more serious approach to that braggadocio rap we're all accustomed to, Keith and Sche take a funner and sillier approach to it. Where JayZ and Kanye rap about being moguls and driving their expensive cars, Keith and Sche are rapping about being Jedis and tricking out their Death Stars. I already know going into most rap that I'm not going to relate to it, that is why I enjoyed Magnetic Pimp Force Field
so much; Its light hearted approach does not demand that I expect to relate and only serves to encourage me to enjoy the ride that much more.
Now let me get back to why I enjoyed this so much, the old school mixed with new school vibe this possesses. Clearly, the beats are at the forefront of this album. The production has a minimalistic dark synthy feel to it while keeping a real funky vibe about it. Besides the beats being quite good, the hooks on damn near all the tracks are catchy as hell. 'Ewokie Galaxy Swag' has a beat that reminds me of something from Daft Punk. On top of all that you have tracks like 'Jedi Supreme' and 'Watch the Throne' that incorporate some cool scratching just for that extra flavor.
My only gripe with this album is that it does not end strong. The last 3 tracks are forgettable, especially when compared to everything before it. Overall I feel this album is pretty great. For me, it's definitely worthy of a few spins and it's an album that I will re-visit regularly. Some of the tracks that I felt really shined are Thunder Cats, Hard Drugs and Watch the Throne.