Kool Keith conducted by Hugo Lunny  

Kool Keith Interview

May 2000

Kool Keith is an underground veteran and is very well known. From his work back in the day as part of the Ultramagnetic MC's, to his various persona work (Dr. Dooom, Dr. Octagon, Black Elvis), Keith has always come off as an interesting personality. He will be releasing two albums within the next couple of months, The Analog Brothers (which has him as part of the group) and 'Matthew,' an LP which Keith himself describes as being his "realest" work yet.

MVRemix: Can you tell me about The Analog Brothers project? Details like production, the release date, guests etc.

Kool Keith: The Analog Brothers consist of me, Black Silver, Mark Lie, a guy named Pimpin' Rex, and Ice-T, they're the names of the people in the group. We all named ourselves after different keyboards...Keith Korg, Soulen Rex, Silver Symph, and we have a few extra rappers who come on on the record, but, the album is a totally analog sounding album, we did different keyboards and waves. Something brand new, but staying with sounds from the past. Earlier times. Everybody had vintage keyboards, we put them all together, yeah...it's pretty cool.

MVRemix: So are the Analog Brothers a direct stab at RZA? Because of Bobby Digital and everything or is it just something completely different?

Kool Keith: Um, not really, this project is not even thinking about him. We are...the album was made just like we'll make another record, but when we decided to make an album called that. People kind of misinterpreted its original name. It has to pertain to the RZA's music, we just did a different album going on in the music industry. It's different from all the other albums out there with it being some brand new token.

MVRemix: What's the situation with you and your manager?

Kool Keith: Um, he's not managing me anymore. I'm dealing with someone else. I have a new manager, well, basically I don't have a manager right now, I'm handling my business again. I just let a guy handle my business for a second and it wasn't all that great. It was just cool, but...you know, I need to go out by myself. A lot of my gigs I'm getting on my own, a lot of product commercials, soundtracks, those things, they were coming my way anyhow. I didn't need a manager...to piggy bank my money and stuff, so I got rid of that.

MVRemix: What about the status with you and Sony?

Kool Keith: With the 'Black Elvis' project, I waited until my contract was up. I was signed to Sony, well originally to Ruffhouse, and I was supposed to have my album finished...I did finish my album, but they put my album out a long time after I'd finished it. And Sony, who'd waited until the last minute decided to drop Ruffhouse. Ruffhouse had ended up folding and Sony, Sony did not know about their projects and a lot of people got lost in the mix. I mean a lot of people on that label, Pras, Sporty Thievz, me, uh, Cypress...A lot of people went through a lot of stuff. So, my contract has ended with Sony. You know, they got mad. I did the website thing and told them about.... it was kind of wild. Then I had that email sent about promotion and stuff, so you know the basics here would be I could have done this by myself. For me to go on a big label there was like a lot of big problems.

MVRemix: Will 'Test Press' ever be released on an album?

Kool Keith: It's coming out on my Keith - 'Matthew' album. It's like a secret track on the album.

MVRemix: Is there somebody you want to work with that you haven't already?

Kool Keith: I plan to change up a lot of things this year, I mean musically I'm an artist myself. I do all my music, I use a lot of keyboards, bass guitars, drum machines. The shit I've basically been getting more into is production. I'm trying to work on another Ultramagnetic album and then I'm working with different peoples. Different things, I mean I've been on a lot of soundtracks, collaborating with rappers. There was the WWF CD...it went Gold. Then the Prodigy thing was successful too...I'm gonna keep that kinda distant. But I will join in on a few acts here and there, make it work.

MVRemix: Can you give me some details about your next solo LP?

Kool Keith: My next solo album is produced by myself, it's kinda raw, kinda next type of sound. More straight forward, more down to earth. Keith regular life standards. Urban living, life in the projects growing up. Um, it's one of my more straight forward albums, basically, you know I've done the Dr. Octagon thing and the Black Elvis thing. This will be me, as you see me, regular on the street. I think record labels have dodged my reality, and people have dodged my reality, so I think, this new album is a reflection of my life, just me. My feelings and seriousness. No more just joking around, tramping around, it's more of a serious album. I took a serious picture, with me acting normally, wearing my regular clothes, it's a big transition from all of those different things people were getting focused on. I was being myself partly on a lot of different projects, but really being myself is who I am. Me as myself, Keith.

MVRemix: Also, going along with the next solo LP idea, ask if he has any ideas on what his next personality will be?

Kool Keith: I don't know. As time goes down in my career, I plan to get into production, do a lot of producing and stuff, I may work on a group album with some people. Maybe me in a group, maybe me co-ordinate a group, but as far as Kool Keith, I think I'mma end my career probably as me, just Keith as myself. I was probably entertaining more on my last few records than me making some real stuff. Just having fun. I'll probably produce a lot of groups, I don't think I'll just come up with a persona right away, with the Black Elvis thing...Sony messed that up and it has kind of deteriorated me away from that sort of thing. I mean making conceptual albums, I've made conceptual things for a lot of labels and they don't really know how to work them as the product, so...I'd say my safest thing is to be myself right now because I don't think they understand. Keith is extravagant things, different things...The funny thing is, I hide a lot of my roots. I mean I grew up in the projects, you may not hear me write about it a lot, but I mean, there's been a lot of urban living in my life. People might be scared of my new album. It might be too real for them. I actually have gun shots on my new album and people might say "What is he turning into?" "Wow," no, I think my album is just personally me.

MVRemix: So when will that be out?

Kool Keith: July...25th I believe

MVRemix: Are you ever going to re-release the Ultra project with Tim Dog, I can't find that shit anywhere. Or the 'Big Willie Smith' EP?

Kool Keith: We had that album, we were ready to do that album but the album got lost in the source. The big time album. We was gonna work on a new Ultramagnetic album, we recorded four tracks, but then it got stopped. I speak to the guys a lot, we're slowly rebuilding, and going to make an album, but it's going to take a lot of energy, and I'm trying to get that with those guys. It's in the works, you know, we work on some stuff and then we stop working on it. The Ultra thing may happen, but it's gonna take a year and half or two years. You know I've been working on a lot of tracks, and concentrating on production. I'm not trying to say I'm better than anyone in the business but I think we're gonna fluctuate the market more this year.

MVRemix: Ever thought of working on a project with Prince Paul?

Kool Keith: I did that one record with him and it was real [emphasizes] cool...when we did that one record for his album. I don't know, I mean a lot of people are more busy now so it's hard to catch a lot of rappers, in the end it's a conglomerate business, everybody wants their money and paper and it's changed a lot of rappers.

MVRemix: Any last words for your fans?

Kool Keith: I'm working on my new album. It'll probably be one of my final albums. I'd say the next one after that will probably be more of a compilation. I'll then probably work on some different things, maybe get some singers or I might get a rock group together. i got a lot of different things I'm planning to do but more real things this year, I'm not gonna joke around. Might do a record with Tim Dog...I mean it's cool, the stuff I've got planned is...I'd just like to tell people you should prepare for my transition, I'm doing something totally different by myself.

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