Black Elvis / Kool Keith

Black Elvis/Lost in Space

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After killing off his Dr. Octagon alias and resurrecting himself as an intergalactic Little Richard named Black Elvis (coiffured appropriately), Kool Keith returned in 1999 with his much-anticipated debut for Ruffhouse. Compared to the scatological bombast sprayed all over his First Come, First Served LP (released as Dr. Dooom on his own Funky Ass label earlier that year), Black Elvis/Lost in Space is remarkably tame. And despite jettisoning cohorts the Automator and DJ QBert, the results sound surprisingly similar to the Dr. Octagon album: sparse 808 beats, a few bizarre, faintly menacing organ lines for hooks, and a sample or two the likes of which have never been heard on a Dr. Dre record (like the odd banjo pickings on "Livin' Astro"). Also cropping up are a few of Keith's patented psychedelic nightmares (reminiscent of "Blue Flowers" and "Earth People"), including "Lost in Space," "Rockets on the Battlefield," and "I'm Seein' Robots." For "Supergalactic Lover," Keith injects a bit of stuttered Timbaland funk into the mix, though this tale of sexual prowess is appropriately schizoid. If Black Elvis/Lost in Space doesn't make quite the splash of 1996's Dr. Octagon, it's mostly because there's a distinct sense that Kool Keith is retreading familiar (through incredibly fun) territory. One thing's for sure, DJ QBert's scratching is definitely missed.

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