I often like to test the interest in new projects by old rappers in this section. This week, we have a little “old meets new” situation as Kool Keith and producer L’Orange have come together to make an album called “Time? Astonishing!”. It features J-Live, Mr. Lif, Open Mike Eagle, and a few others.
There was a time when Kool Keith was the most prolific rapper not named Lil B I had ever seen. in the late 90’s , he was pumping out albums bi-yearly. Not all of them were great but he never made an all out dud. Since that era of crazy productivity, he’s become more human. He still put out music but it’s nowhere near the rate he used to. I won’t lie, I kinda stopped checking for Keith in the last 5 years. Not cause I think he fell off , more cause I just haven’t been paying attention. Every now and then, a new song would pop up, I’d peep it and think “Yup, he’s still doing it…” then I’d forget about. I think part of that dismissiveness had to do with his production choices. Keith has always been all over the map, with the types of beats he uses. From the heavy breaks and samples of “Dr.Octagon” to the more simplified synth based sounds of “Matthew”. So, when he drops something new, you don’t really know what to expect. Well, in the case of “Time? Astonishing!” , he teams up with producer L’Orange who is a guy that will make the Dr. Octagon fans very happy. He’s a sample based guy (Hooray!) whose sound lands somewhere between Madlib and The Automator.
If you’re a Kool Keith fan, this is possibly the album you’ve been waiting years for. If not, you’re probably not reading this part anyway. But , regardless, check it out
Kool Keith is a bugged out dude. Over the years he’s had more names and personalities than most entire crews. Just when you think he’s done, he pops up out of nowhere with yet another incarnation of himself. This time around, he’s calling himself Babby Blak and repping “Toilet Tissue music”. This is one of those things you’re either gonna love or hate. Which makes it perfect for the “Yay or Nay” treatment.
Wanna be a star
By Kool Keith
In the mid 90’s, independent hip hop records started building some real steam. While most artists who had been making music in the late 80’s and early 90’s shied away from putting out random 12” inch records on unknown , homemade labels, one man who embraced this was Kool Keith.
By this time in his career, Keith had 3 Ultramagnetic albums and DR. Octagon under his belt and had solidified his place in hip hop as the weirdest dude out there who still managed to get love from the streets. With his explosion of indy material in the mid 90’s, he really got to take his persona in a different direction.
I’m not 100% on this but I think around that time Keith moved out west for a bit. These two songs are certainly about him being in L.A. and loving it. But beyond that move, his 12”s on “Funky ass” records were the beginning of a prolific recording run the likes we’ve only seen from MF Doom a few years later. Keith was putting out MAD albums. This lead to a little over saturation but his work ethic was admirable, as was his ability to use different pseudonyms to tip toe around label politics (allowing him to release so many different albums at the same time on so many different labels).
These two songs were always some of my favorites from early on in the Kool Keith Renaissance. Because I like them both and don’t wanna have to choose just one, I’mma give you a 2 for 1. Not to mention…the artwork on those Funky ass records 12 inches were pretty much the best thing ever.
Well, this is pretty cool:
A little background in the “dick towel”:
Slaves By Godfather Don and Kool Keith
One of my favorite rare Cenobites songs. I had this on a dusty 3rd generation cassette that i had re-dubbed over and over on different stop tape mixes. Stretch and Bob played it only a few times. I was very happy to see it got a release on the “Demented thoughts EP” (one leg up records) over ten years after i had originally heard it. memories…