Kool Keith Turns the Rex Theater Upside Down – Giveaway
However, under every persona, the man behind the music will always be lyrical head-spinner Kool Keith.
Keith launched his rocket ship of a rap career in 1984 as a cornerstone member of the hip-hop group known as The Ultramagnetic MC’s. The fast rhythms and quick rhymes of the Ultramagnetics guaranteed them a sweet spot in the fledgling realm of late century hip-hop.
In 1995, Keith released his first solo track titled “Earth People.” From the first verse of the single, it was obvious that Keith had just changed the game for good. Fans followed “Earth People” into the release of the album “Dr. Octagonecologyst,” under which Keith assumed the alias of “Dr. Octagon”: an insane gynecologist that leads listening audiences through a mad house of lewd torture. The new album was less a collection of songs, and more an experiment in long form musical narrative. The form paralleled the influences of David Bowie’s 1972 epic, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust” (in which Bowie also assumed a rather eccentric persona and lead audiences on an unsuspecting journey), but altered the content to create a much wilder and darker adventure.
Kool Keith’s unique and sometimes horrific writing style quickly became iconic. His lyrics were a groundbreaking combination of juvenile word play and incredibly graphic subject matter, and his videos boasted obscene images, aggressive editing, and unflinching social statements. Keith’s dark alterations to the game are still actively incorporated into lyrics by rappers such as Eminem, Tyler the Creator, and Hopsin.
In 1999, Keith assumed the identity of “Dr. Dooom.” In the inaugural tracks of “First Come, First Served,” Dooom murdered Dr. Octagon, the hero of Keith’s previous album. In the same year, Keith sent ripples through the hip hop universe with the video release of “Plastic World,” in which he donned an Elvis-esque plastic pompadour (leading to a new persona, “Black Elvis”) and degraded the pop culture music scene for conforming to “plastic’” standards. Black Elvis and Dr. Dooom have yet to initiate any violent confrontation.
Listening to Keith’s track in today’s contemporary music sphere leaves little to no disconnect. Listeners are immediately transported to the year 1996; Transformers are still made with steel parts, “Tyler, the Creator” is named Kool Keith, and honestly, everything is a lot better.
Kool Keith will be performing in conjunction with Pittsburgh rappers Billy Pilgrim, Mr. Owl, and more at the Rex Theater (1602 East Carson Street) on Thursday, March 26. Doors open at 8PM and tickets are still available for $20.
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