Dr. Dooom

First Come, First Served

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One of the better albums in the Kool Keith catalog, First Come, First Served is further evidence that the volatile MC works best with an alter ego -- in this case Dr. Dooom, a serial killer with a fondness for cannibalism, pet rats, and Flintstones vitamins. During the album's opening skit, Dr. Dooom symbolically kills off Keith's best-known persona, Dr. Octagon, signaling Keith's desire to move away from the alternative audience who embraced that album and back to his roots in street-level hip-hop (as he makes clear on "Mental Case"). Dr. Dooom is accordingly darker and more violent, but way too far out to fulfill Keith's aspirations; he simply doesn't fit into hip-hop's obsession with realism. Of course, that hardly means the album is a failure. First Come, First Served is one of his strongest outings as a pure MC; it's full of complex, idiosyncratic flows that sometimes sound like he's ignoring the beat, yet come together in the end anyway ("No Chorus" and "Dr. Dooom's in the Room" are two terrific examples). At least half the album seems to be set in the ghetto housing project Dr. Dooom calls home, and even if it isn't as bleak as the inside of his "Body Bag"-filled "Apartment 223," it's still a chaotic place to live. Guests Jacky Jasper and Motion Man partner with Keith as the nightmarish "Neighbors Next Door" and the brothers from the "Housing Authority," respectively; the left-field disses of "You Live at Home With Your Mom" are another highlight. The second half loses a bit of focus as it gets away from the concept, but overall it's pretty consistent, thanks to returning producer KutMasta Kurt -- who, ironically, cribs from the horror-flick style of Dr. Octagon on several cuts. The album may not be on that level, but it is quite good, and deserves bonus points just for the bizarre No Limit cover-art parody.

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