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Kool Keith Revives Dr. Octagon

Follow-up to “Dr. Octagonecologyst” due in February

Rapper Kool Keith is working on the second Dr. Octagon album
without his former partner, now mega-producer Dan the Automator
(Gorillaz, Beck). The album is due in February on Rockwell
Recordings (an imprint of CMH Records) and is the follow-up to
1996’s critically acclaimed Dr. Octagonecologyst
(Bulk/DreamWorks), a psychedelic hip-hop concept album about a
deadly, libidinous and doped-up doctor.

Sitting in a dilapidated building in downtown Los Angeles, where
a photo shoot is about to begin, Keith avoids questions about
exactly whom he is working with. “I made up the name [Dr.
Octagon]. That was my group,” he says, eyes hidden behind a yellow
Kangol hat. “I chose to bring Automator in to work on the project.
I gave Automator his introduction to the music industry, gave him
his first start. With this [album], I will make another person and
create another star.”

Taking a more active role in the music and production of the
as-yet-untitled album, Keith has finished his share of the work —
playing bass, guitar and keyboards on much of the material — but
the mysterious collaborators are yet to be determined, or, in some
cases, confirmed.

“This album is fine-tuned with instruments, deeper and more
spaced out,” he says. “The last one was cool, but I didn’t like it
because it wasn’t funky. When I don’t work on a project, it’s not
that funky. When I do work on it, it’s funky, and it has soul to it
. . . I’m proud of my funky sounds right now.”

Recording in Los Angeles, Dr. Octagon is now signed to the
independent CMH Records, better known for tribute albums and
bluegrass and country releases. “I chose to go with somebody that
will take this as a creative project, not a marketing project,”
Keith explains. “Major labels tend to let inexperienced people
oversee your projects. Your innovation goes down because they have
[too much] input. You don’t see anybody going into the studio to
tell James Brown what to do. Even though he can adapt to certain
things, nobody tells him how to sing. That’s the way I feel about
myself.”

Kool Keith is also working on a solo album and an album with a
group called KMH.

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