Dr. Dooom, Dr. Dooom 2
Hip-hop's man of a thousand guises returns
Hip-hop's champion eccentric, Kool Keith's influence on the landscape of contemporary hip-hop is incalculable; everyone from Lil Wayne to MF Doom has either directly or indirectly paid homage to the man of a dozen guises — each tribute more spaced-out and surreal than the next.
On Dr. Dooom 2, Keith reprises the role of the gonzo, serial-killing physician he created for 1999's First Come First Served. Like most sequels, Dr. Dooom 2 fails to live up to the heights of its predecessor. Keith has a tendency to run in circles, his non-sequitur raps having become almost formulaic in their absurdity. Keith's decision to once again kill his Dr. Octagon persona doesn't do him any favors — it's the second time he's done so in as many Dooom records.
Yet even at his most banal, Kool Keith remains more compelling than 95 percent of the off-kilter rappers he's spawned. While more mundane MC's might use American Idol as a lame punchline, Keith devotes the record's opening cut ("Simon") to a bizarre, hilarious rant about his hatred of Simon Fuller. Behind the boards, long-time collaborator Kut Masta Kurt supplies an impressive array of horror-core piano riffs and dive-bombing super hero strings. Those disappointed by Dr. Octagon 2 should be satisfied by Keith's return to form — whatever form that is.