Kool Keith

Nogatco Rd.

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Taking on yet another persona, whacked-out rapper Kool Keith becomes Mr. Nogatco for the '50s sci-fi- and U.F.O.-obsessed Nogatco Rd., a rare good album in a discography that bounces wildly between excellent and embarrassing. Nogatco Rd. is neither, and while it's nowhere near as vital as his work as Dr. Octagon, the Nogatco character (Octagon backward) is nearly as well defined, leaving less fleshed-out concepts like Thee Undatakerz in the dust. Nogatco is the flip side to Keith's intergalactic persona Black Elvis, paranoid rather than bold and murky instead of bright. Keith sounds like he recorded most of the album crashed in a recliner, feet up, and mic dangling at the corner of his mouth. His weary, stream-of-consciousness delivery suits the post-alien abduction theme of the album while playing nice with producer Iz-Real's eerie landscapes. Although it's a moody album that works best when allowed to run start to finish, "Bionic Fuse," "Night Flyer," and "Live Dissection" with underground heroes Sage Francis and Sole guesting should make their way onto any hardcore fan's next Kool Keith mixtape. The real reason the faithful will drool is the enhanced CD's bonus features, which include a comic strip and an X-Files-esque mini-movie that's totally spaced out.

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