Album cover Love and Danger - Kool Keith
Love and DangerKool Keith7/10

Kool Keith - Love and Danger

10 Jun 2012 row1

If you count solo, group, secret mixtapes and limited editions, then Kool Keith has churned out at least 35 albums over a period of almost 30 years. A truly staggering amount which gets even crazier if you start trying to count collaborations on tracks and random MP3s posted on MySpace and Twitter. Kool Keith may not be a household name, but his influence on hip-hop is undeniable and it is a fair bet that most people have heard of him without even knowing it ('Smack my Bitch Up' in-case YouTube pulls it due to the boobs). So the fact that this is being billed as his last solo album should make everyone sit up and pay attention.

The first track 'You Love That' has an almost Madlib soulful sound with some drums, piano, horns and others built around a loop of the word baby. It is probably the first track I have ever heard where Keith attempts to sing in tune. It is introduced as the number one song and I would probably have to agree—lyrically and musically this track flows well and fits the album's title. The next track 'Cowboy Howdy' has Keith starting off slightly aggressively with fast and short lines Teach you to rap, how to play pitty pat pat pat, wires tapped while you rap,..., clear my lane let dunk, clear my lane let me jump and not rapping about cowboys so much. Mr. Sche (Big Sche Eastwood) then comes on and slows it down slightly and raps a lot about cowboys, so much about cowboys that it starts to sound a bit contrived everybody clap your hands, do the cowboy dance, I got holes in my pants, denim Wranger Levi, keep that mud of my boots. The track also sounds nothing like Kool Keith's previous ventures into country music, instead it has a very electronic sound and at times sounds something like Glass Candy's 'Candy Castle'.

Released back in 2010, the single 'New York' finds its way onto Love and Danger. A more sinister critic might say that Kool Keith and DJ Junkaz Lou were trying to capitalise on the success of Jay Z's 2009 'Empire State of Mind', but in their defense this isn't their first or even second track about NYC. Having heard 'New York' many times before, it isn't much to get excited about. It has some awful lines like They say I'm the new Kayne West, but also has one of my favourites The king of the town, arrogant is how I sound, can I have my own autograph please?. It also has the danger aspect of the album covered.

The album hits a bump with 'Supremacy' where Keith can't resist going back to talking about how the music industry is racist and owned by white people. The song is awkward both lyrically and in delivery with the 'white executive' impression, out of place and has been done many times before. It is a shame as the beat is quite good.

Keith Murray on 'Impressions', Megabone on 'The Game is Free', an M.I.A sound-a-like on 'Who's the Man' and The I.M.O. on 'Extra Thoughts' keep the album ticking over until the the oddity that is 'Something Special'. The track is all over the place, with Keith talking into a noise-distorted mic, slower more "sensual" raps and again singing near in tune. Somehow Keith works it all into a fantastic track and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Sadly the bad singing is back for entirety of 'I Never Hurt You'.

Kool Keith's Dear John letter to rap 'Goodbye Rap' is appropriately the album's last track. The piano sets an emotional tone and the lyrics are serious and sincere enough to make you wonder Is he serious, could this really the end?. If it is indeed the end, then this track makes for a fitting swan song.

This song is the last song,
I quit rap-couldn't find competition,
I threw hip-hop in the garbage,
The rock hall of fame had to pay homage,
While everybody was fat cooking sausage,
I was wearing ostrich,
Rap ain't been the same since I had it hostage,
The last song I guess was written wrong,
First class flight,
I'm leaving MCs to fight over who's the best,
I'm gone,
To a secret shelter in space,
A astronaut ready to take off,
Go home to the bat cave and take my cape off,
A rockstar,
Still I was shocked tomorrow,
Rap went out door,
All MCs cried with tears,
Miss my metaphor,
Inspiration gone
Goodbye Rap

Love and Danger is a good album and possibly his best collaboration with producer DJ Junkaz Lou. For the most part the rapping and the beats are of a high and consistent enough quality—something that has previously been an issue. Is this album a fitting good bye to his legendary career? No, and I doubt a single album could ever do him justice. Do I actually believe that this is his last album? Of course not, in fact he will have an album out in 2013 with Big Sche titled Magnetic Pimp Force Field. If Kool Keith does ever retire, then I would love to see him end it where his solo career began, a final album with KutMasta Kurt.

Sardless Tracks

  • You Love That
  • Something Special
  • Goodbye Rap

Track Listing

  1. The Dangerous Liaisons (Intro)
  2. You Love That
  3. Cowboy Howdy feat. Mr. Sche
  4. New York
  5. Vacation Spot
  6. Supremacy
  7. Impressions feat. Keith Murray
  8. The Game Is Free feat. Megabone
  9. Whos the Man
  10. Pull Your Hat Down
  11. Extra Thoughts feat. The I.M.O.
  12. Something Special
  13. I Never Hurt You
  14. Lovin Me feat. Mr. Sche
  15. Goodbye Rap