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Kool Keith Comes Clean

Rapper talks sex, drugs and alter-egos

July 24, 2001 12:00 AM ET

Since leaving the Ultramagnetic MC's, Kool Keith has donned capes, wigs and glasses in adopting a string of wacked-out personas and characters to deliver his candid raps about sex and drugs. Black Elvis, Dr. Dooom, Dr. Octagon, Poppa Large and Sinister 6000 are just a few of the aliases and costumes that have come and gone. For his latest record Spankmaster, Kool Keith ditches the personas but keeps the subject matter the same with songs like "Girls in Jail," "Drugs," and "Girl Would U Fuck Tonight."

How come you don't have a new character for Spankmaster?
People got immune to that. You see a lot of rappers coming out with the same concepts as Black Elvis, with the wig and glasses. If it's something I do, people catch onto it late, but if somebody else does it they catch on right away. I felt like, "I'm going to let everybody else do what I've been doing and I'm just going to become myself."

I know you killed off Dr. Octagon on the last album. Is everyone else like Willie Natural and Fly Ricky: The Winetaster gone too?
Until later notification, because I feel like I've done that scene for a minute. People are already coming out trying to duplicate a lot of that stuff. So I don't feel like I need to give them any more energy and have people think I'm trying to copy something I innovated.

Talk about the song "Drugs."
To me it's like a bugged-out angel dust record, like I'm a user and my life coping with people -- like I'm on drugs making records. People think it's all calm and perfect and life is just stable. They don't know there's tons of rock groups in the studio right now, sniffing coke and people taking heroin. People are high. Jimi Hendrix was high. Everybody's in the studio on something: beer, weed -- engineers are mixing down records as we speak right now, G smoking blunts across the world. I felt like it was something to get off my chest, some drug stuff. I remember back in days in the Eighties, I was riding in limos with girls and groupies and going to Paris. I had days of weed and coke a little bit. I'm not on drugs anymore but it was something I felt like writing.

Do you have a worst drug experience?
No, I was smoking a lot of weed. I took mescaline tabs and stuff back in the day. I've been through times of partying. I feel like kids right now, this generation, is late on drugs. I did that experience. There's people out there they've been getting high for years. People just now are thinking it's a style to take Ecstasy. It's a style to smoke blunts and stuff. I've done all that stuff. You see people getting on the trend like a fashion. It's an old fad rolling up blunts and smoking out of bongs. I experienced these things. Angel dust and tablets, whatever; making records on different types of vibes, coke and stuff. It's an experience. I felt like a lot of people are just getting on this stuff. They don't even understand what they're getting high about. The funny thing is, I don't need drugs to make weird music. Rock groups, R&B groups -- they in the studio, they have to get so stoned to figure out how Kool Keith makes that music. I'm sober when I make that music.

On the album, you make fun of the commercialism in hip-hop. What do you think is the biggest problem?
Major corporations have gotten caught up with selling an album like it's selling a box of cereal. People see Pokemon on a box of cereal, people see Captain Crunch's face on a box and everything's the box, but what's inside? Does the cereal taste good or what?

"Girl Would U Fuck Tonight" sounds pretty straightforward. Does the direct approach work for you?
I love making records with a direct approach. I think everybody is singing, "I'm going to bring you flowers, and give you gifts, if you open up your heart." When they really just want to say, "Girl, will you fuck tonight?" I stop beating around the bush. I've heard so many records, "I want to bring you into the light of my world." What the fuck are you saying? Fake shit. I'm not afraid to tap into subjects most guys are afraid to talk about.

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