Kool Keith

Kool Keith Presents Thee Undatakerz

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Bizarre as ever, Kool Keith returns with his new rapping horror-show project, Thee Undatakerz. Keith is now playing the role of Reverand Tom, a character who delivers a sermon here and there but is in no way as developed as his Dr. Octagon or Black Elvis personas. Keith's best lyrical moment is "I gotta get gas, pick up the girls, change clothes, and drop Frank off and Hank off." "I don't like making records no more/I quit, y'all don't know, a long time ago" is interesting to hear considering the rapper's low profile as of late, but otherwise he's at half power and at times his nonsensical stream of words gets tedious. The problem seems to be that the rest of Thee Undatakerz don't give him much to bounce off. Members the Funeral Director (whose digitally manipulated vocals wear out their welcome fast), Al Bury-U, and M-Balmer all sound anxious next to the legend without ever connecting with him. M-Balmer holds the most promise with her sassy Southern style, and her multi-tracked call and response on "The Flesh -- Feed Me" is worth hearing. Speaking of the South, the production is sparse with thudding bass in a Master P style. Keyboards are barely off their presets and there are none of the flourishes that made Keith's early records so exciting. All that said, "Party in tha Morgue" is a great tune -- even if the album's three remixes are one too many -- and Keith's melodramatic wail on "The Hearse" ranks with his best moments. A sign of life for sure, but Keith ain't back on track yet. [Kool Keith Presents Thee Undatakerz was released in the CS2CD format, containing both DVD video and CD audio on the same disc.]

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