KOOL KEITH - Black Elvis / Lost in Space
1999, after Dr Doom had definitively buried his rival Dr Octagon and accordingly pissed on his grave, back comes Kool Keith, more furious than ever, and determined to do battle with the entire universe. From this inspired, if a bit unhealthy mind is born a new alter ego by the name of Black Elvis (with a wig to get the point across) who materializes on an album conceived in two distinct parts: first "Lost In Space" (8 tracks), followed by "Black Elvis" (9 tracks). Welcome to funk from the 4th dimension; get your kryptonite hoodies on and of course your chrome-plated G-string, the wildcat is on the loose.
After having extensively talked the birds and the bees with Dr Octagon, and then with "Sex Style", what’s next in line for the most demented of all rappers? Sex, of course – one can’t change one’s own nature. Yep, sex. But that’s not it…
Lost In Space:
Why are you making those mean faces in your videos with the fish-lens effect? Why? Why do you walk in the club with 30 people around you and stand in the corner with bodyguards for no reason? Why?
From the intro, the tone is set. Kool Keith is sick of the rap game that, as it goes on and on about its own success, finds Keith dreaming of the stars and ranting about purple neons and sexual funds sprinkled about the shantytowns of the cosmos. Heads shall roll (see the credits in the album jacket for more details). On these 8 tracks, Keith invents the 3rd millennium funk that serves as the casing for his devastating gall. The opus is almost entirely produced by the rapper himself, assisted at times by KutMasta Kurt, for a disorienting and disconcerting result. As for the emceeing, he’s at the peak of his styles… offbeat flow, punchy and precise, but which wouldn’t be anything without the delirious and caustic lyrics. He exploits the space theme as a means of setting himself apart from the hip-hop that he loathes; he cleans the Augean stables where wack rappers proliferate. Incidentally, Kool Keith hits us with real masterpieces on "Rockets on the Battlefield" or "Livin’ Astro" and invites Roger Troutman to the vocoder just to prove that he’s the master of the game, and he is.
Kool Keith the megalomaniac is back again, misanthropist and collector of panties. Black Elvis, like any good rock star with the tiniest ounce of self respect, records in only the most prestigious studios, gets blazed with Mötley Crüe, and knocks out all the girls by showing off his private parts. This extrapolation of a decadent rock star persona fits him perfectly; Kool Keith personifies the prototypical VIP gone bad, the star who stays downcast from drug abuse and who drowns his brain with Courvoisier sitting in the recliner in the hall of his record company manicuring himself with a size 90D fluorescent pink bra. Musically, this second part distinguishes itself from the space delirium of Lost In Space but without abandoning his somber ambiances that have become the mark of the MC-of-a-million-aliases. Kool Keith here is more sensual, even sexual, as shown by titles like "Fine Girls", "The Girls Don’t Like The Job", or "I Don’t Play" where he puts himself in the skin of a teenie star that is constantly obliged to satisfy the unbridled fantasies of his groupies. Black Elvis can allow himself to do so, he has valets who polish up his apple-green hummer, and a personal tailor who creates the fur coats which he uses as a mattress for his royal self when he screws Bill Gates’ personal secretary.
Kool Keith is completely nuts, this is nothing new… Kool Keith invents characters to express the ramblings of his mind, we had noticed that already too. Only with Black Elvis/Lost In Space, Kool Keith seems to never have been so much himself. Always careful to resemble no one else, the oddest rapper in the business deals out his scato-pornographic humor and rejoices in front of a wall of Marshall amps during the Super Bowl. He doesn’t need any stooge, any hip hop support to justify himself, Kool Keith has a 50-year lead on the whole world, which explains that the number of invites on this solo album gets the smallest portion (a Sadat X on the return, "Static", and Motion Man on the excellent "Clifton"). Of course a few tracks fall a bit flat, but it is impossible to hold it against him since his text is just so captivating. Hip-hop has created a monster, and this monster is determined to avenge itself.
Translated by motiv8