Kool Keith is a veteran to this rap shit, from his days with the Ultramagnetic emcees, then as Dr Octagon, Teaming up with Tim Dog again for Ultra, his work with Sir Menelik, Dr Dooom and the heavily anticipated Robbie Analogue, his latest incarnation comes as Black Elvis. His personas and subject matter have been varied whether it’s the Chino XL like attack at the industry as Dooom, the Craziness of crazy Lou or becoming Poppa large with the Ultramagnetics, one thing remains consistent, Keith supplies that Bugged out shit.
I’ll be honest I’m not always up on his material though, sometimes its just a lil too bugged out or too heavy for me so listening to this album was difficult to listen to from the beginning but when you get into Keiths Mind you gain a level of understanding. Don’t expect production to carry the album as its bass heavy sparse beats leave strictly the lyrics that Black Elvis is trying to lay down the centrepiece, anything extra is a bonus and that includes head nods. Like I said its hard to get into but once your there you’ll enjoy what's on offer so what exactly is going on in his head?
Black Elvis is some sort of extension of Dr Doom, hence the wig he donned on the cover of ‘First come first served’ hes not as in ya face though, in fact a lot of the material here sounds like it could have been left over from the Dooom sessions because it didn’t fit in with the serial killer persona that he displayed on there. Musically it's similar but lyrically Keith is more Keith than Doom, of course he goes for the Labels here and there and the odd emcee who ain’t coming correct but that’s now what its based on. We have 2 intros to begin with as full tracks, being ‘Release date’ and ‘Intro’ in that order, the latter wants to deal with the fakeness of the industry like the use of a certain type of video effect and the fronting mentality.
‘Rockets on the battlefield’ really kicked it off, this is where the album starts officially for me and on track 4 of all places, this is where Kool Keith takes a lyrical trip into space bringing down anything that gets in his way, you’ll have to be quick to keep up with him.
Don’t expect a slew of guest spots like every other rap release these days, Jacky jasper (Who?) guests on the previously mentioned ‘Release date’, Sadat X lends his nasal tones to the 3rd intro which is titled ‘Static - Intro II’ although they make a fair combination you get a sense that X is a just a little out of his depth when rhyming alongside the Black Elvis. ‘Master of the game’ attempts to inject that electro funk feel by guesting the Late Zapp singer Roger Troutman, and yeah hes still using the Vocoder on the hook, this is the track where Keith lets you know he’s a leader and not ready to jump on the next style.
Highlights for me included the upbeat ‘Maxi curls’ where things stand out just that extra bit and Keith displays more energy than what has been dropped on the rest of the tracks. All the time surprisingly steals a well know RNB sample, it lends the harmonies of a Faith Evans clone and borrows the ill sample used on ‘You used to love me’ but don’t think he’s getting soft. ‘I don’t play’ is also pretty good, in the same vein as the bass heaviness of the rest of the tracks its shines as the albums closer bringing a real interesting experience to a close. The Black Elvis has left the building.
This is not an album you can really bump in the car or at a party, its more of a connoisseurs choice that Company Flow and Sir Menelik fans will lap up in the walkman or on a late night getting high. Its pure lyricism on the next level vibe, its way ahead of its time and you need complete concentration or a toke of the good stuff to absorb the whole thing so if your looking for that something a little bit different check for this soon in your local store.