Kool Keith Interview

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Kool Keith don’t give a shit. He’s the death metal of hip-hop. He’s been doin’ his own thing in the game since day one: flipping off big labels, releasing cult classics on his own, effortlessly ignoring all the clichés in the rap industry and in effect granting him a massively-diverse audience. I’ve been waitin’ to check this dude off my list for a while. Past attempts to see a gig consisted of no-shows and dead-end leads. Fast forward to the present venue at hand and Keith is still mysterious as ever: I saw no visible flyers, no merch table, no sign of the dude anywhere and the clock was ticking. In the moment I decided to look away he appeared on stage like a ghost deciding to reveal itself wearing some bedazzled power scarf on his head. Keith started running down all his aliases from the Ultra Magnetics to the Diesel Truckers to Dr. Dooom to Mr. Gerbik without pause, all business and attack. When it was over we hit him up for an interview outside and he calmly obliged—but not before kicking it with his fans on a street level making sure all were saluted for coming out to the show. It was well worth 
the wait. —Sam Hitz

Hey, good show, Keith. What’s the title of the new album in the works? And if you could, please explain the vibe of it.
The new album is called Future Magnetic. It’s, like, I got a lot of features on it, lots of surprise features that you never thought I would collaborate with. I got MF Doom, I got Mac Mall, I got Atmosphere, I got—who else? Got a lot of people coming. Lot of surprises. Craig G. I got many more to come.

Who’s on the production tip?
It’s just all kinds of production. Different beats and stuff. It’s pretty nice. Number-one producers on it. A lot of other artists on it. I got Headkrack on it. I got a lot of artists on it.

Analog Brothers released Pimp to Eat 16 years ago and there’s a re-issue coming out. Any good stories from those recording sessions?
Analog Brothers is out as of now. It’s a very good album. It’s digitally re-mastered for the people who missed it; a lot of people missed it. It’s brand new marketed—over brand new again. It’s out now. Ice-T, everybody’s on it. It’s just another incredible project—of course the beats. Everything is just timeless, as usual. You got to definitely see the video for “Country Girl.” I got a new song coming out called “United First Class” and I just did a video for it.

Any chance of gettin’ that posse back together for a new record? A new round for the future?
I don’t know. It was just a timeless project. One day maybe they’ll all come together. It would be another great second round at bat for another album like that.

What was the first record you remember buying with your own cash?
I bought a lot of funk records, like Slade, Con Funk Shun. I would go out and buy the Ohio Players with my own cash. I didn’t buy many rap records but I bought a lot of funk records with cash. Edward Birdsong. That’s when J&R Music World 
was out.

Who were you a bigger fan of, Michael Jackson or Prince?
I liked both of them. They both was great artists. They the most elite of the elite artists out and a lot of artists act more arrogant than both of them. Michael Jackson and Prince are to the highest extreme of an artist you can get and everybody else, you know, they can’t ever reach that plateau. Lotta these artists out here is just really being a joke.

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They’re just grasping.
Really bein’ a joke. Like you’re sayin’, why would you rate yourself against Prince and Michael Jackson? And James Brown! You can’t do nothing about that.

What’s the worst thing about hip-hop and rap music in 2016, in your opinion?
A little lazy on the lyrics and, you know, everybody got dumbed down choruses. A little lazy on the bars and dumbed down choruses which is also dumbing down, you know educational-wise.

I’m gonna hit you with some top-threes right here, man. Real quick. For example: top-three rappers that should’ve been in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before NWA, in your opinion.
Ah—Kool Keith of course.

Ha! Yeah, I knew that was coming. I set you up.
KRS and—lemme see. One more left. I got one more to pull up. Kool G Rap.

Yes! Alright, top-three ladies of porn?
Top-three could be Jeannie Pepper, Champagne and Menage Trois back in the day. Ah, Angel Kelly!

Alright, top-three divas you would like to see transition into porn?
I would like to see Rita Ora, MIA and lemme see—

No, no. I got one more to give you: Taylor Swift.

Yeah, I would have to agree. Her feet are kinda big, though. Three exotic animals you would consider edible?
I don’t know. I don’t eat animal. But you mean like gorilla? Lets see—rabbit.

Fools are eatin’ rabbit all the time.
That’s true. Ha! Monkey and maybe hamster. Hamster meat.

Last one: three all-time breakfast cereals?
Franken Berry. Remember that shit?

Hell yeah. They still run it. That shit’s toxic!
King Vitamin. Ha! Remember that shit? And the original Apple Jacks. Yeah, you know they took the cinnamon off. You know Kellogg’s did a new twist; they watered it down.

Yeah, they cut it. Hey, Keith, thanks for the interview, man. Appreciate it.
What’s up with Tony Hawk? He still skatin’?

Tony Hawk’s rippin’, dude. Fuckin’ doin’ loops and shit.



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