Monday, June 05, 2006

I'm not just a doctor, I AM A MAN

"Don't worry Mz. Pop music, your son's going to be alright"

So says Kool Keith in the guise of Dr. Octagon on his new album The Return of Dr. Octagon. Kool Keith may not be best known for his willingness to play the pop game. Whether spitting rhymes with The Ultramagnetic MC's or putting on one of his many personas, he has always preferred a dark and eerie soundtrack to his warped, dense, and crazy lyrical universe. Nor is he known for consistency, but when he's been good, as on the now classic Dr. Octagonecologyst and as Dr. Dooom in First Come, First Served, I've found his musical and lyrical humor highly entertaining, no matter how disturbing. But this time, he's funky too.

I'm not sure whether it's a sign of a more sensitive Kool Keith, but titles like "Trees" and "Perfect World" from The Return does have a different ring to them than does "I'm Destructive" and "Halfsharkalligatorhalfman". Musically this is probably his strongest album; plenty of funky electro beasts, with synth riffs, Latin trumpets ("Aliens") and elements of Eastern music ("Ants") for added spice. His darker sides are shown on the bass-heavy "A Gorilla Driving a Pick-Up Truck", which has Kool Keith doing Buck 65. But more startlingly, tracks like "Perfect World" and the highly infectious "Al Green", with it's sampled guitar riff, should get even the stiffest booty shaking. And if there's one thing that Kool Keith still knows, it's booty.

The Return of Dr. Octagon is due out on June 27.

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