On his new album, Dr. Dooom 2, Kool Keith is mad as hell and he's not gonna take it anymore [click to read]. What's new? Keith has never been a man to self-censor when something's got his blood up. He's made a career of sticking his head out of his spaceship's window and abstractly, absurdly, and sometimes charmingly nonsensically verbally assaulting everyone from labels, other rappers, journalists, to you, the record buying public. And those topics are all once again hacked with a chainsaw and fed through a wood chipper on the new record.
So just in time for Halloween, Keith gives us 15 new psychedelic-rap fever dreams mixing a cokehead's paranoia, a crackhead's aggression, and an acid-freak's detached surrealism. When Keith fully indulges himself and slips from gravity's grip he is still capable of some bizarre, deranged, and exhilarating music. "I Followed You" is a stalker's tale filled with enough grotesque imagery and rotten decadence to remind the listener of a Fellini film. He rips apart his own myth on "RIP Dr. Octagon", a detailed description of overkill being perpetrated on perhaps his most acclaimed solo project. What makes Keith interesting 20 years on is his refusal to coast and his restless energy. Tracks like "Do Not Disturb" and "Run For Your Life" meld Keith's blood soaked sci-fi/horror non-sequiturs with Kutmaster Kurt's atmospheric haunted house beats. There is something unsettling about great Kool Keith songs and you'll have that feeling many times over the course of this album.
But it's when Keith turns his ray guns on the rap industry that he runs into trouble. It's not that his criticisms aren't valid; it's that they are tired. And he just doesn't deliver them with the same ferocious vitality that he unleashes when he scrape his subconscious from his skull and splatters it on wax. "God of Rap" [click to listen] and "Always Talkin'" have their share of good lines, but overall they come off as the grumpy ranting of a man unhappy with the way the younger generation is treating his music.
In the end, you wish Keith would drop all the bitterness and stop fighting battles he has already won simply by being himself. Keith's existence, his longevity and his warped, unique style, are proof that individuality and trend bucking are viable career options. Here's hoping that next time out Keith will leave all the bickering to the earthlings and instead send us more horror movies from outer space.