• Kool Keith x Thetan - Space Goretex (Anti-Corp) Album Review

    Released by: Anti-Corp
    Released on: April 10th, 2020.
    Year: 2020
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    Bronx-based hip-hop legend Kool Keith joined forces with an unlikely ally in Nashville’s power violence outfit Thetan back in 2019 for a Record Store Day single release in the form of Complicated Trip. Well, that must have gone pretty well for all involved, because Keith and Thetan are back a few months later, this time with a full length record featuring guest spots from an interesting list of friends. And some of those friends are Keith himself, as here he brings together all three of his ‘personas’ (they being Dr. Octagon, Dr. Dooom and Black Elvis) on one album for the first time. Thetan, made up of Chad L'Plattenier and Dan Emery, however, are not to be ignored here, as the two lay down some pretty amazing background music for Keith to rap over, using almost entirely bass, drums, Theremin and synthesizers. The end result, as you might expect, is beautifully bizarre and wonderfully weird, a genre-crossing hip-hop album for the ages.

    Spasm In The Chasm is the album’s one-minute opener, and it’s a weird into wherein we learn someone deep in the Milky Way is heading to the Green Planet but that their ‘shit’s all fucked up’ and they’re picking up speed. The lever gets stuck, the throttle gets broken and there’s giant bacteria! Oh, and the manifold’s on fire…. ‘oh shit!’

    This dramatic opener leads into the albums first proper track, the three-minute Hallucinations, wherein an explosion and some seriously heavy bass combine with Keith’s repetition of ‘hallucinations, space goretex’ before he then starts rapping about some completely surreal topics like metallic birds, the legion of doom, lunar craters, Burger King, cosmic dust, Chapstick for ashy lips, hip surgery and other oddities and abnormalities, always circling back to his hissing of the ‘chorus’… ‘hallucinations, space goretex.’

    The three-and-a-half-minute Let's Take A Trip is, again, heavy on bass and repetition (‘let’s take a trip… all around’), but it introduces the recurring character of Vagina Lucy and brings Dr. Octagon into the equation. There’s talk here about super-heroics, female masturbation, Kool-Aid, cooking sweet potatoes, Sinead O’Connor, monster penis, space-dicks, E.T. mixing it up at the turntables, Dr. Dooom, alien training and lots, lots more. Somehow let’s take a trip turns out to be more hallucinatory than Hallucinations is, which shouldn’t be possible but hey, here we are.

    Roadside Blowout keeps things moving with a minutes’ worth of narrative, which isn’t as interesting as the actual songs on the record, but these bits serve their purpose and kinda-sorta tie all of this insanity together. In this piece, Officer Lola (voiced by Gangsta Boo of Three 6 Mafia) approaches a suspect’s vehicle and interrupts a couple of guys, only to find out they don’t have their licenses, at which point they have to eat her out. The weird thing is there’s a lot of female moaning in the background, so I don’t know if the guys were watching porn in their car or what. Anyway, while I’m not in favor of cops using their power to get oral sex, I truly hope Officer Lola got off because she seems like the kind of cop we need more of in America.

    The three-minute Hite Heist talks about what happens when Black Elvis and Dr. Dooom rob a porno shop and try to make it through the Lincoln Tunnel away from the cops. Keith name drops Vincent Price and talks about lady cops having to suck and fuck and how Dooom and Elvis ‘make they knees buck’ which probably means they were having a good time. There’s talk here about gold medal cocksucking and speed violations, flaming pussies, handing out fliers and other various filthy and illegal activities. As slick as Keith’s work is here, and it’s plenty slick, it’s the work from Thetan that really sticks out. The bass here is INSANELY heavy, overwhelming really, and it offers Keith the perfect background over which to do his thing. When it ends, dispatch can’t find Officer Lola…

    Dedication is a four-minute track that starts out with some bulldozing bass overtop of a really high-pitched and seriously weird sounding synth work that is just flat out piercing. Keith raps about his characters’ dedication, about Doom, Octagon and Dooom and their taste in cars and cocktails, cat chow and other random stream of consciousness topics. It really does seem like Keith is just freestyling over most of this album, it has that randomness to it, but at the same time everything also seems very calculated so clearly I’d no idea what’s going on here.

    The forty-six second Prelude To The Robots is a quick narrative piece that leads into the ninety-second Robots On The Automators. At this point, it seems like Keith is gone and Dr. Dooom has taken over and we’re ready for takeoff. Again, Thetan’s backgrounds are fantastic here, providing a perfectly spacy beat for Keith to roll over with his bizarre but completely appropriate rhyming style.

    This review is already way too long but Complicated Trip is the track that they collaborated for last year for the RSD single release. It’s awesome, and it’s all about three of Keith’s characters hanging out with Vagina Lucy and her big ol’ booty (she has a nice ass in black leather, so we are told). This song is a song about fucking. Pussy’s squirt, titties are big, pelvis’ are damaged, rubbers are handed out and… yeah. Lots of fucking in this song. BUT the Thetan background work is fuzzy and distorted and just flat out weird, and as crass and blunt as this song is, it really works.

    Bad Dreams is equally fuzzy, Thetan’s work really just getting into the red in a big way, with Keith’s vocals getting even more effects heavy and surreal. It’s the trippiest song on the record and probably not something you should listen to without the proper accoutrements on hand, and we’ll leave it at that (no we won’t – Keith name drops Spider-Man and The Predator in this one, and it would be poor form not to mention that).

    Some unexpectedly classy violin playing opens Accolades, before none other than Blag The Motherfuckin’ Ripper from The Dwarves talks, for two-minutes, about Kool Keith’s remarkable qualities while his voice distorts and twists and turns in weirdly wonderful ways. It might also be the first hop-hop song to reference L. Ron Hubbard and Blowfly in the same verse, so it has that going for it too. Remember – Blag lives at home…. with your mom.

    Gaping Black Hole is not subtle. It opens with the sound of women moaning, moaning as if they are enjoying sex, which is the best kind of moaning. Weird space noises come into the mix and we’re told ‘you are the first bitch from the Avengers, the green girl, to fuck in space!’ It goes from there about destiny, getting higher and higher, space sounds, more moaning and, well, the Theramin takes over here and it’s pretty rad. But then it’s over and it’s time for In Pursuit Of Vagina Lucy, which is a heavy, fuzzy, basstastic track that stops with a call out for 1 Adam 12 to look out for Vagina Lucy, the freak of nature! Why? Because she was seen coming out of the Port Authority with the majority, buck naked on 42nd Street, that’s why, on her knees doing deeds and sucking off cops 2 to 3. As you can see from the first thirty-seconds of this song, Vagina Lucy might not be the type of lady you want to bring home to meet your mom, but she does have a Blondie rapture and highheel shoes and even in her wanted poster she’s looking cute. Either way, everyone is touching her cooch and she’s got Betty Boop tattoos, so interpret that as you will. We hear some more ‘call ins’ to the NYPD about Lucy’s exploits in between Keith’s laid back rhyming, some more about Lucy’s dirty deeds and then the albums slides right on into…

    …Bedtime Stories, a three-minute continuation, stylistically, of the last track. Seriously, the way that Thetan’s music grooves from Vagina Lucy into Bedtime Stories is seamless, and Keith’s tripped out, permafried lyrical style just goes with the flow without ever missing a beat. This track, like the rest, is filthy and sex-obsessed, using gravy and mashed potatoes and Chevy’s as a euphemism for fucking, but it’s done with such seriously impressive conviction that you can’t help but go with it as Keith raps about D-cups (D-cups are rad, by the way), Adidas sneakers, the harriest beaver, the wet silk convention (which is probably the same thing), Winnie The Pooh and, yep, the importance of education (he’s not wrong).

    The album finishes up with End Transmission, a two-minute sludge fest that is overwhelmingly grungy, heavy and distorted. Nothing like you’d expect from a conventional hip-hop album (which this is not), it’s a quick little remainder of just how good – and how out there – Keith and Thetan are when they collaborate. And if that weren’t enough? Sheriff Tubb Tucker (better known as the alter ego of Casey Orr from The X-Cops, who is in turn better known as Beefcake The Might from Gwar!!) shows up here to bring the Officer Lola narrative to an end.

    It’s all very twisted, perverse and filthy – but the contributions from Thetan really bring this to a different level. This is the equivalent of listening to the audio version of one of those horoscope posters from the seventies where everyone is fucking and the black light makes everything glow in the dark. It’s trippy and dirty and awesome, somehow conforming to clichés while simultaneously breaking a lot of new ground. There’s an appreciable twisted sense of humor to all of this, which goes a long way, but Keith never breaks character(s), making his dedication to perversity surprisingly admirable. Kool Keith and Thetan are an unlikely collaboration, but I for one would love to hear the do a few more albums together, because of this one is anything to go by they’ve got a lot of potential new ground to explore together.