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Music / Kool Keith

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"He's strange"

Kool Keith, real name Keith Matthew Thornton (born October 7, 1963), is known for a number of things, including his skills as a lyricist and rapper, the fact that he has more aliases than any other rapper in the industry, and, finally, that a lot of his songs are weird.

Keith first gained notice as a member of the Hip-Hop group Ultramagnetic MCs, which formed in 1984. Although praised for his lyrics, his contributions to the group's songs were not particularly weird, especially compared to Keith's solo albums. Keith has also been a member of the Analog Brothers (with Ice-T), Masters of Illusion, Thee Undatakerz (a Horrorcore group) and The Clayborne Family.

However, Keith's best known album is Dr. Octagonecologyst, a weird, Genre-Busting cult hit Concept Album about a time-traveling gynecologyst and surgeon who has sex with his female patients and nurses, and frequently manages to accidentally kill his surgery patients. The album's success resulted in Creator Backlash with First Come, First Served, in which Keith adopted the role of Dr. Dooom to kill off his most famous creation.

Keith is the creator of a style he refers to as "Pornocore", and also claims to be the creator of Horrorcore. The Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up" is built around an altered sample of Keith's voice from the Ultramagnetic MCs song "Give the Drummer Some" (The original lyrics were: "Switch up change my pitch up / Smack my bitch up like a pimp"), and he returned the favour by guesting on the track "Diesel Power". Keith also appeared in a few Sprite commercials. However, despite all of this, he is still largely underground, because most of his music is too strange for mainstream audiences.

Notable albums

  • Dr. Octagonecologyst (as Dr. Octagon)
  • Sex Style
  • First Come, First Served (as Dr. Dooom)
  • Black Elvis/Lost in Space
  • Matthew
  • Spankmaster
  • Nogatco Rd. (as Mr. Nogatco)
  • The Return of Dr. Octagon (as Dr. Octagon)
  • Dr. Dooom 2 (as Dr. Dooom)
  • Moosebumps: An Exploration Into Modern Day Horripilation (as Dr. Octagon)

Tropes employed by Kool Keith

  • Alter-Ego Acting: Keith Thornton is also known as Kool Keith, who is also known as Dr. Octagon, Dr. Dooom, Mr. Gerbik, Black Elvis, Keith Korg, Mr. Nogatco, and thousands of others.
  • Darker and Edgier: Sex Style was something of this as a way of scaring off the white hipsters who had taken to Dr. Octagonecologyst; when that didn't take, he made First Come, First Served and the Dr. Dooom persona as a way of creating the hardest, most hipster-unfriendly album he could think of.
  • Death Is Cheap: Dr. Octagon has been repeatedly killed off by Keith only to keep returning. First Come, First Served opens with Dr. Dooom killing Octagon, only for Octagon to return years later on The Return Of Dr. Octagon. After Keith was dissatisfied with Return, he brought back Dr. Dooom to kill Octagon off again, with the song R.I.P. Dr. Octagon describing Dooom repeatedly killing Octagon in excessive and over-the-top ways to kill him for good...only for Octagon to return yet again for a collaboration with Yeah Yeah Yeahs. With the release of Moosebumps, Octagon seems to be staying around for the time being.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Keith’s music revels in this, be it through bizarre Word Salad Lyrics, vivid depictions of Gorn and/or incredibly perverted sexual behavior, Boastful Raps and disses aimed at other rappers in general, etc.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: Keith is also known as Dr. Octagon. As Mr. Nogatco, he released an album called Nogatco Rd.
  • Take That!: Although Keith's disses are so weird that you often can't figure out who is being dissed. His Dr. Dooom persona effectively exists as a potshot towards fans and music critics who were only interested in his Dr. Octagon output while ignoring his other works.
  • Villains Out Shopping: The "Mr. Ratt" skit on the Dr. Dooom album First Come, First Served album has the contrasting actions of Dr. Dooom feeding his pet rat, a mundane action, with the considerably more macabre action that Doom is cutting up a dead body with a chainsaw at the same time.