With the release of Dr. Octagon, Kool Keith reinvented himself; no longer was he the star of Ultramagnetic MC’s, but now a full-fledged solo artist. After the release of this classic LP, Keith followed up with two more excellent releases, Sex Style, and Dr. Dooom. Both showcased Keith’s strange, spaced-out style, each with their own characteristics, pleasing underground audiences everywhere. However Keith’s stint of solo success was short lived, as consecutive LP’s such as Spankmaster, Matthew, and Black Elvis lacked the magnetism of his early solo material. What was missing? Well, it may have taken Keith a few releases to realize this, but the missing factor was his star producer, Kut Masta Kurt. With Diesel Truckers, the two reunite looking to recapture the magic found on those early solo LP’s.
As longtime fans can attest, each Kool Keith album has it’s own concept, whether it was the insane scalpel welding Dr. Octagon, or “body parts in shopping carts” cannibalistics of Dr. Dooom. However despite the concept each LP has, it’s always Kool Keith, as his trademark personality quirks come through, no matter what character he is playing. Diesel Truckers is no different, as this time, Keith and Kurt adopt the roles of southern truck drivers, Platinum Rich & The Funky Redneck, as evidenced on the title track (“Diesel Truckers Theme”), where Keith spits the usual train-of-thought braggadocio, between Kurt’s semi-truck horn honks and precise cuts. Keith embraces his character in full with the obnoxious bounce of “Mental Side Effects”, complete with country twang of Fat Hed; as well as on “Diesel Truckin” where Keith hilariously breaks down the lavish lifestyle of a truck driver, honking at Escalades and picking up waitresses at the wafflehouse. The southern influence also creeps in on the strip-club ready “I Drop Money”, as well as “M.A.N.E.”, where Keith absurdly adopts a slow southern drawl rhyming entire verses with the song’s title.
However, in all of its humor, Keith’s previous personas have been far more entertaining. The flossy air the Truckers flaunt, is most likely derived from the fact that Diesel engine trucks are even bigger than Escalades, which of course results in even bigger baller status. However, the mystique of Dr. Dooom’s Jeffrey Dahmer influence provided for much more interesting subject matter, as did the mask wearing pervert found on Sex Style. Still, while many of Keith’s recent releases have been let downs, this is somewhat of a return to form, thanks to Kurt’s production. We see classic Keith & Kurt on “Break You Off, a dark stalker anthem where Keith perversely admires women from afar, coupled with “I Love You Nancy”, a more sincere dedication written from the heart. And what Kool Keith album would be complete without a track like “Kenworth’s With Wings”, where Keith describes extraterrestrial experiences, interstellar travel (by way of Diesel Truck, mind you), and other government conspiracy cover-ups.
This is a step up in quality for Keith, however with the amount of releases he has delivered in the last few years, it’s evident he shoots for the quantity over quality approach. Still, among the sea of releases that have Keith’s name attached to them this year, Diesel Truckers is your best bet, even if it isn’t as solid as works past.
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