Kool Keith | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Kool Keith 

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Kool Keith is just one of the many faces of rapper Keith Thornton, best known for his otherworldly contributions to the Dr. Octagon project, with producer Automator and DJ Q-Bert. Thornton made his mark in the 80s with New York's Ultramagnetic MC's, but his early work did little to prepare listeners for the weirdness to come. In Dr. Octagon he delivered a mix of sci-fi prophesying, scatological metaphors, and quasi-medical gibberish over sluggish beats, spacey synths, and wiggy snippets ranging from overripe violins to porn-movie dialogue. Kool Keith's Sex Style (Funky Ass) was strange as shit too, but less imaginative--a veritable clinic on bizarre sexual practices. Dr. Octagon's independent debut was reissued in 1997 by Dreamworks, and a spot on the same year's Lollapalooza roster seemed to further indicate that he might have some crossover appeal, but Thornton blew the tour off and disappeared for a spell. Since reemerging he's been working on a new solo album for Ruffhouse and hanging around with rock stars like Radiohead's Thom Yorke, but what he'll be doing here is anyone's guess. Kool Keith is last on a long bill that includes four DJ sets; the show starts at 8 and he goes on around 11:30. Sunday, Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison; 773-327-1662. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Brian Cross.

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