Kool Keith : Hollywood Key Club

Kool Keith dishes out his classic material and laughs in the face of hip hop cliches

You never know what to expect from veteran underground rapper Kool Keith. From his days as a member of the legendary Ultramagnetic MCs to his wild, alter-ego filled solo projects, Keith has always come unique. Tonight’s show is an enthusiastic display of his classic material and a freewheeling good time that laughs in the face of hiphop cliches in that poignant but funky way only Kool Keith can do.

After making the sold-out crowd wait a grueling hour-and-twenty minutes, The Spankmaster (Keith’s newest alias and album title) emerges in a basketball jersey, plaid pork-pie hat and a superhero cape. “How y’all like my new image?” he asks the crowd. “I had to take off my masks and wigs because motherfuckers be biting that.” Then, with Ice-T‘s legendary DJ Evil-E on the tables, he launches into some classic Ultramagnetic MCs material that gets old heads and young kids alike hyped-up and jumping to the thirteen-year-old beats like they’re fresh out of the box.

When he plays ‘Blue Flowers’, a single from his critically lauded ‘Dr. Octagon’ LP, people are so charged that a small mosh pit breaks out. After some more tracks as Dr. Octagon, including a heartfelt ‘Girl Let Me Touch You’, which he dedicates to the ladies and the guys who rent out motel room, Keith tells the crowd we look hungry and hurls plastic bags filled with fried chicken, candy and a small juice into the crowd.

Between songs, Keith preaches his disgust for the current state of hiphop. He hates producers who mine the past for new sounds and has the crowd chanting his new mantra, “Fuck retro! Advance to the future!” all night long. He dabbles in some Dr. Doom material, plays the title track to his ‘Sex Style’ record, and gets caught lip-synching to ‘Drugs’. Apparently, Evil-E didn’t have the instrumental version!

The show’s a short blast. Keith doesn’t play nearly as long as the crowd had waited for him to come on stage. But a lot of people got a free meal, and it was more fun than most shows twice its length.

Michael Coyle