Kool Keith
Black Elvis/Lost in Space



by Zmev USER (64 Reviews)
November 12th, 2006 | 10 replies

Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

If you're in a dark alley in whatever time for whatever reason, you better hope that isn't Kool Keith breathing heavily right behind you for a couple reasons. First off, it would be odd since big time underground rappers usually aren't found right behind you breathing heavily in a dark alley; secondly this is no ordinary underground big time rapper, this is Kool "Black Elvis" "Dr. Dooom" "Dr. Octagon" Keith, the man of as many names as sexual orientations. While being known for surrounding himself with big name help and a wacky disguise to go along with it, only have of that appears on Black Elvis/Lost in Space as producer Dan the Automator and turntablist Dj Qbert do not appear on this effort. Perhaps it is appropriate since Keith at this point was entering a new phrase since on First Come First Served Dr Octagon had meet his dooom, but was this a good phase" The answer to that is yes and no as while Keith keeps writing great lyrics and coming up with great disguises, the replay value and overall quality of the piece is still in question. Question being "is this catchy" and the answer being "no".

Of course good ideas also get made up into this album. There is a reason there are two introductions as there are two album titles (no it isn't a coincidence). That being, there are two different things being explored here, one is regular old Keith, except he is in space, and one is being placed on regular old Earth, except its with Black Elvis. The nifty concept of that certainly gains some points for creativity, and if you're into stories of concepts, you can keep that in mind.

"Why do you pull up in valet parking with your Benz/that is rented/talking on a cellular phone that doesn't work/why"" beginning, as introduction tracks usually don't, by help the rest of the album out and getting it off to a good start. Sure in hip-hop we are used to listening to stupid bombastic skit introductions that merely introduce the MC or have something that isn't relevant to the work at all; but this is different, as Intro lays down the persona and voice that will work through this whole album. sing two of the key members in the past, aren't bad at all, producing a slow jams style beat that sounds like its in space. That may sound wacky, but look who's doing the rapping. Intro 2 cannot hold up to these standards as it plays the role of the traditional intro track, being an artificial Madison Square Garden concert in which Kool Keith is introduced to fake crowd noise for 25 seconds.

The main flaw on this record is the way the beats and the lyrics/delivery are never really able to stay together and sound focused. Take Livin' Astro for instance, sure the words are far out ("Flying saucers, spaceships move at warp speed/MTV level three when I fly on bet/Livin astro, tell me how you feel/"One two, one two") but what its delivered over is just a basic drum beat not giving any images of space or being black or Elvis. While there isn't many problems with the lyrics since this is Kool Keith's specialty, the beats sometimes work against them, hindering the ability for the song to want to be played again.

While the setting is different, what remains the same is Keith's brand of creepy sexiness that usually becomes the subject of his even creepier words for it. In a way they remind you of your own sexual escapades, but not of you getting it on, more like you walking in on your parents. The psychological torment continues with Fine Girls, which chronicles Keith trying to pick up a girl he sees around. Yes he is a "big secret admirer of [her]" and no matter how bad the other dude is, he just has a way of providing the weird alternative. "He beat you up/I'll eat you up/Reheat you up/Come fix your life/Make you my wife" provides one of those lines that would make it on the "Top 10 things you wouldn't say to a stranger" list, but its OK for him seeing as not only are we used to it, we sort of expect it from him. The song itself doesn't follow with the fresh lyrics, providing a dull and looping beat of simple piano and a drum beat; this coupled with the never changing tempo and delivery make for a static song, one that is good for a minute but leaves the remaining 2 not necessary to be heard.

In a time where he is not plummeting to a creative low but not enjoying the peaks he once knew, Keith braces for a time of change and in response to those times, releases Black Elvis/Lost in Space. While it isn't a bad record or worthless listen by any measure, it isn't anything remarkable and it isn't up to the old standards ol' Black Elvis once knew.

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user ratings (116)

Comments:Add a Comment 
November 13th 2006


I liked the small amount of Kool Keith I've heard.

November 13th 2006


They used to call Jimi Hendrix The Black Elvis.
I enjoyed your review.This Message Edited On 11.13.06

The Jungler
November 13th 2006


Great intro, I don't know much about Keith's solo stuff (only Dr. Octagon), besides the fact that he was on the Warped Tour and he works with Automator alot. I may check some of his stuff out (but not this).This Message Edited On 11.13.06

January 12th 2009


Album Rating: 4.5

Severe under rating in my opinion - But I also state I am a Kool Keith tragic.

That said - I put this in his top three post Ultra Mag releases.

May 17th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

album is so awesome

July 16th 2013


love this fucking album kool keith is great

November 25th 2017


Album Rating: 4.0

some of his best right here

June 2nd 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

One of very few rap albums I listen to. Normally this isn't my music but somehow I really like this (especially the sometimes strange lyrics).

If I want to check out other artists / bands of this genre where should I go next?

Digging: Eyeless In Gaza - Song Of The Beautiful Wanton

June 2nd 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

yeah non rap fans can dig this

June 3rd 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

Ok I tried Eric B. & Rakim - Paid In Full (1987) and it sounds very good after first listen. I like how Rakim's voice sounds and also the sound effects of Eric B. which are sometimes quite imaginative (like the water sounds in Chinese Arithmetic, can't get enough of them, and the sounds in "Eric B. Is President" but in most songs there are good examples).

I think Paid In Full and Black Elvis are very different and the choruses in Paid In Full are more minimalistic.

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