Wednesday, May 6, 2009

KOOL KEITH - March 2004

Originally published in: Monday Magazine

Random thoughts: One of my all-time weirdest and favorite interviews. But words could never convey what's it's truly like to talk to Kool Keith. This one still makes me laugh when I think about it.

Keith Encounters…
An early morning conversation with hip hop’s king of Kool

By Jason Schreurs

We’ve all heard about these megalomaniacal rappers, claiming they’re the best there was, the best there is, and the best there ever will be. And then there’s Kool Keith, the delusional, truly bizarre rapper who is utterly convinced he is the king of hip hop.
I gotta tell you, this was a weird interview. Not that I expected anything different after hearing about Keith’s notoriously odd behavior. So it all begins when I call Keith at 9 a.m. at a Motel 6 in Hollywood and he answers the phone with, “You ready?” He wants to hook up with me for lunch as I scramble to explain to him that I’m actually in a different country.
What follows is a series of scattered, cryptic answers to my increasingly prodding questions. I’m trying my best to get something out of this guy, but all I get are self-congratulatory quips and very random thoughts.
Does the future of rap look bright? “With me around, of course it does.” What makes you the best rapper? “Because I’m one of the most diverse artists in the music industry.” What about the new generation of rap? “I’m gonna leave ‘em a torch, a powerful torch.” And what if they don’t carry it? “Everyone’s just gonna listen to Kool Keith, forever.” And so on…
After countless years in the rap scene, including ground-ripping work with New York’s UltraMagnetic MCs and a plethora of albums under aliases such as Dr. Octagon, Dr. Dooom and The Black Elvis, Keith was recently inducted into the Hip Hop Hall of Fame. Only problem is he doesn’t seem to remember anything about it. (“I don’t know, was I? I think I was… I guess I’m more famous than ever.”)
Then I notice Keith keeps making these deep, snorting sounds. I figure the guy’s got a cold, or allergies, so I mention it. “Aw, nah… just sniffing cocaine, you know,” he laughs, and quickly adds, “Just joking.” (Remember, it’s now 9:15 a.m.)
So I try to steer him towards the topic of new school rap, something he has been very outspoken about. According to Keith, the old school of rap (of which he belongs) is made of legends and the new rappers are fresh out of ideas.
“They don’t have any knowledge,” he’s quick to point out. “They’re just trying to do something similar to what everyone else is doing. It’s manufactured rap.”
I could go on, but you get the idea. King of hip hop? Sure, what the heck; let him have the title.


  1. i love dr.octogan. halfsharkalligatorhalfman is one of the best songs of all time! kool keith is amazing!

  2. new kool keith mixtape . enjoy!