“True Religion on double X
Dimes rubbed together
Lane Bryant support, no heartburn
She can’t breathe at the food court
Text no talk
Whales need sports
And you love thaaaaaaaat
And you loooove that”

When listening to the second track of Kool Keith’s brand new album “Love & Danger” entitled “You Love That,” it’s entirely open to interpretation if Keith is celebrating oversized women who love to eat or mocking their obesity. Needless to say, not every rapper will come to a woman by saying “I’ll lace you with that Dannon yogurt.”

If you expect clearer explanations of what’s going on, then you should know right now you’ve got the wrong rapper. Keith Thornton remains as inscrutable in 2012 as ever. In a career that now spans four different decades, he’s been lyrically ahead of his time and a sex obsssed pervert, exhibited multiple disorder, and even been incomprehensibly whack at times – but never boring or average.

Kool Keith is probably the only person in hip-hop who can get away with the line “Can I have my own autograraph pleeeeease?” in a song like “New York” and have it make perfect sense. On any given day, he may not even know who he is, which is his gift to hip-hop. Make no mistake though, his is a carefully calculated madness with a specific method behind it.

“Form Voltron; nobody rap against Mega Don
Who you think ran Megatron?
Thirty years behind, new rap today is gone
All rappers should go on TV and be gonged
They stereotype, giant monkeys posed like King Kong
Rap ain’t nothin but dog doodoo out the butt crustin
Is it me you trustin?
Hoffman, I could be Dustin”
 – “Vacation Spot”

DJ Junkaz Lou falls into that rare category of producers who could give Keith a diamond clarity lens to focus his laser beam raps through. Keith is often his own worst enemy, as his self-made audio experiments are often insufferable noise, over which he delivers songs lacking in any recognizeable structure. “Supremacy” could be just such a song with the wrong kind of beat, but instead it comes off as a tongue-in-cheek mockery of the music industry. Keith spends the first 69 seconds of the song impersonating the whitest rap executive who has ever lived, then proceeds to sing/rap how he “owns the masters” and “gives them cars and houses” but ultimately he has “the real cash.” It’s techno rock future-hop that is simultaneously deadly serious and a hilarious send-up.

Kool Keith chose to let a few friends join in this musical adventure too. Big Sche Eastwood pops up on “Lovin’ Me” and “Cow-Boy Howdy,” The I.M.O. join him on the lyrically familiar flows of “Extra Thoughts,” Megabone joins him on the Prince-esque synths of “The Game Is Free” and the biggest surprise may be that Keith Murrayjoined him for “Impressions.” Given the cult following both East coast rappers have, this one will undoubtedly be a big favorite to many listeners.

Keith: “You sound whack when you callin me a pioneer
Listen to me you must have a iron ear
Def flows burn off your earlobe, you cry in fear
with a fat stomach y’all accumulate from buyin beer
Pabst Blue Ribbon, I turn down
while monkeys get controlled by ladies, I ride taxis quickly
Past Thanksgiving, skip Christmas
New Year’s your girl leave her panties in the kitchen”

Murray: “They say you never get a first chance to make a second impression
Keith and Keith keep psychics guessing
and fortunes telling, telling stories of how we swelling
Motherfuckers who keep shit jeal’n
And fortune tellers keep tellin stories
of how Keith Murray and Kool Keith be gellin’
We helped them man, to the cross they nailed us
Here without the first stone, please prevail us”

Kool Keith is never quite sure what he wants to be. At times he’s a urban hip-hop cowboy on songs like “Pull Your Hat Down,” at times he’s a quiet storm R&B crooner on tracks like “I Never Hurt You,” and at times he’s an unapologetic narcissist on songs like “Who’s the Man.” Even though he’s impossible to pigeonhole, long-time fans of Kool Keith will breathe a sigh of relief on hearing that, because it’s the hallmark of a good Keith album that he can’t be held to one style for too long. There is at times an air of self-mastubatory excess, but it’s tempered by the quality of the beats and the fact all 15 songs clock in at under an hour, reigning in some of Keith’s obesssive tendencies. With so many albums in his volumnious catalogue, it’s neither the best nor the worst, but a passable experience with intriguing beats and rhymes is all anybody can ask for from this eclectic eccentric of hip-hop – and “Love & Danger” delivers.

Kool Keith :: Love & Danger
7Overall Score