Review Summary: Time to deliver a pizza ball
Kool Keith and Dan The Automator sound old. Keith’s voice, of course, has been affected by his 40+ age - lower in pitch and less attack than in the 90s. Dan’s beats sound about 20 years old, artifacts of the 90s, complete with operatic flair and a heavy dose of turntables. But more importantly, they sound tired. This could work to their advantage if it was in a self-referential and thematic way like Danny Brown’s Old,
but instead you have dude’s in their 40s trying to replicate something they did 20 years ago. And that’s not to say Moosebumps
is a bad record, it’s simply a more polished rehash of a fantastic record from another time.
When Kool Keith, Dan The Automator, and DJ Q-Bert teamed up for Dr. Octagon they paved the way for alternative hip-hop. We likely wouldn’t have the likes of Madvillain, Deltron 3030, or Brockhampton if Kool Keith hadn’t decided to rap as a time-traveling mass murdering gynecologist. After Dr. Octagonecologyst
dropped in ‘96, Dan went on to produce bigger, more mainstream projects like Deltron 3030 and the first Gorillaz record, two groups that owe a great deal to Dr. Octagon. The man himself Kool Keith decided to stay in the underground, making weird and eclectic albums under a handful of different monikers. Considering the track record of these guys Moosebumps
is just a little too tame. The sexual assault jokes from Octagonecologyst
would not hang today, but regardless this project is missing grit. Hip-hop’s resident weirdo Kool Keith slings nonsense non-sequiturs like “I was writing octagon in an octagon hat / With octagon underwear taking an octagon bath / With octagon soap, my octagon motorcycle made / By octagon bikes / Stand up late in octagon heights living that octagon life / Wiping the girls off with octagon baby wipes” at a rapid pace, but his lower energy hampers the feel of the bombastic beats. All criticism aside, Dr. Octagon has just enough fuel left in the tank to make a functional and enjoyable record. Maybe hip-hop is a young man’s game, but Octagon is a nice change of pace from the trap beats and MCs too young to buy alcohol that is dominating the mainstream right now.