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by
1 January, 2001@12:00 am
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Much like your typical popular rappers, (all whom are biting his originality, as he would be sure to tell you), Kool Keith brings his latest project, just under a year since his last solo effort. Picking up somewhere where Matthew left off, Spankmaster should hold over the legions of Keith’s fans for a while, bringing more of the same lunacy we’ve seen on some eight releases within the last five years.

Like Matthew, while not backed by longtime producer Kutmasta Kurt, Keith s latest does suffer from musical awkwardness, as Keith’s own production is sometimes as unique as his lyrics. Nevertheless, the beats do thump with the attitude of a Too $hort  record circa 1988, best evidenced on “Eldaradoe’s” , “Mack Trucks”, and “I Wanna Play”, and he does stick to the script of his own distinctive production style, however monotonous it may be.

But the lyrics are what people listen to Kool Keith records for, and if the beats are dope, it’s seen as a bonus. While not quite as bizarre as some of his Octagon or Sex Style stuff, Keith still manages to entertain, mostly when he s picking on people that obviously grate at his nerves. Whether it s the entire population of NYC deejays (“Jealous”), the top ten rapper whose girlfriend he stole (“Haters”), or so-called independent women who “can t even cook a hot-dog or pour a glass of milk” (“Maxin’ In The Shade”), Keith’s brightest instances lie in lyrical degradation. Other shining moments of brilliance include “Drugs”, a catchy, confessional song that reveals Keith’s somewhat fictional (?) drug ridden past, shared with “Whitney, Bobby, Ike & Tina,” and a list of several other crackhead celebrities, from Daryl Strawberry to Tommy Lee Curtis (who?). The “dedication to all the jheri curl niggas” ( “Stoney Jackson” ) and the self-explanatory “Girls In Jail” are also memorable.

With a few gems here and there, if not in the production, most of the album’s faults lie in a few obviously rushed tracks – but that s what we get when Keith’s dropping two albums per year. Songs like “Girls Would U Fuck Tonight” , “Big Frank” , or “Captain Save Em” simply suffer from monotony. A few tired hooks, and restructured versions of beats we’ve already heard make things get boring really quick. Other more experimental tracks, such as “Blackula”,
“Spankmaster” , and “Jewlrey Shine” , each featuring production by Esham & Santos, have a funkier, dancable sound that doesn’t quite fit the otherworldly styles of Kool Keith.

Nevertheless, while the production lacks the natural chemistry that beats from Kutmaster Kurt or Dan The Automator carry, the rhymes (and non-rhymes) are sure to keep your attention. While definitely a step up from Matthew, but still not overshadowing Sex Style, Dr. Dooom, or Dr. Octagon, Keith s latest vehicle will keep his fans happy – at least until he surprises us with his next release.

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