I was ready to be done with Kool Keith after "Total Orgasm 3," but as Michael Corleone once famously quipped on film "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." Junkadelic Music addressed the three biggest criticisms I had of Kool Keith's last free download: his self-production (often unlistenable), his lack of direction (scatology and shock without substance), and his desperate need for collaborators to bring out his best.
"Magnetic Pimp Force Field" takes on each of these challenges with a Tito Ortiz sized swing - it's either going to be a strikeout or a home run. That effort alone garners some much needed respect. Mr. Sche a/k/a Big Sche Eastwood comes in as Keith's partner in rhyme AND on production, and at times you could actually mistake this album for his. Given the only better collaborators Keith has had vocally are Marc Live and Ced Gee this split in the vocal duties drastically raises the quality of the lyrics. DJ Junkaz Lou provides additional production and raises the bar further. There are still some musical duds though - "Skreet Smart," "Hard Drugs" and "Plottin'" are songs this 74 minute album didn't need - except that Keith's verse on the latter is somewhat amusing:
"I'm a freak by night, drawers master from Tampa
Three, four million stashed in the hamper
Fuck that! She might wanna hop in the back of the camper
I need some answers; no time for bitches dressin like grandma"
Personally I'd recommend songs like "Dark Vador Light Sabor" or "Ewokie Galaxy Swag," which feature some blatant sample jacks (Deadmau5 in the case of the latter) that are effective in their new hip-hop context. Even the cheesy singing on the chorus seems to suit the song well, and Sche's rap shows he was just the pimp that Keith needed:
"Full bars even in a black hole
I got fo' G speeds
Ain't nobody gettin higher than me
Fucked on a Martian girl, that pussy was so unique
Sloppy and green, it was stickin moist
Luke Sche-walker, I am the Force
Obi Wan taught me that when I was still a boy
Stay cocky, and you'll stay employed (yup!)"
As you've no doubt gleaned by now there's a definite Star Wars/spacefaring theme to the album. That was the other thing for Keith to resolve to remain relevant in 2013 - a theme to wrap his madcap schemes around and give them enough context to keep my interest. As such the occasional song that varies from the script like "I'm Insane" is that much more interesting, coming off like the kind of hard rocking hip-hop you often hear from Tech N9ne. The title of "Watch the Throne" might seem like a challenge to Jay Z and Kanye West, but if it's a diss it's a subtle one. Keith's more interested in "flush(ing) cosmic dust" and describing his immense rap intimidation factor: "All the rappers - when they see me they need voodoo beads!"
A Kool Keith album is never an easy listen, and I must be emphatic in my declaration that Keith is still far from the heights of his lyrical prowess. Nevertheless he's been given enough context on "Magnetic Pimp Force Field" to be taken off life support - not to let him go but because he's stabilized beyond critical condition. There's still enough of the genius in his madness to keep on going, so long as friends like Sche and Junkaz Lou come along for the ride.
Music Vibes: 6 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6 of 10
Originally posted: November 26th, 2013