Album cover the Doctor is in - Kool Keith
the Doctor is inKool Keith4/10

Kool Keith - the Doctor is in

17 Jul 2011 row1

Kool Keith is well known for getting around and releasing some unexpected albums. This 29 minute EP which seems to have come out of nowhere from Kool Keith and Paul Sea is no exception. Paul Sea has previously done some work with Kool Keith so it is not as unexpected as some of this other work. There seems to be very limited information online about the history or concept of this album, the most I could find was this verbatim quote:

These are some songs we made that were just the way Keith wanted to record them. I didn't direct him like alot of producers do and say oh make a song like that song, or i want you to rap like you did on that record stuff... you know! so these songs are the way we just make songs and had some fun with it
Paul Sea

So with this limited information and until someone corrects me, the Doctor is in is the result of Dr. Dooom and Paul Sea getting into the studio and freestyling over some Lost Masters or Commi$$ioner style beats. Two things to note from that last sentence (i) the album could be considered to feature Dr. Dooom, and (ii) while I am just speculating, it does sound like some of the lyrics were delivered off-the-cuff. Read the below and you be the judge:

One-two check it,
One-two, one-two, one-two check it,
Dr. Dooom is on the track - you know Dr. Dooom show up,
Yo, I got that flow,
I'm shifting gears,
First, second and third, that's what you heard
"Fly Up"

Regardless of if it is a freestyle or not, the lyrics are of low quality (even by freestyle standards) and are delivered with little enthusiasm. The next track "Robot Walk" only contains the following comprehensible lyrics I am a robot, walking up the block repeated over and over along with some mostly unintelligible vocoded parts in-between. Lyrically the album does slightly progress, not into that classic Kool Keith territory but at least on "Space Party" Keith sounds like he is having a good time and Black Elvis fans will be pleased to see Sadat X feature on "New York Outfit". It is also worth noting that "Alien Intervention" is an instrumental outro and on the rest of the tracks the amount of Kool Keith is in most cases rather short.

Musically the synthesizers and vocoders are overdone (Keith and Paul are both credited for these parts), both in terms of being used too much on this album and in terms of having been previously used a lot of Kool Keith albums. An example of being overdone is on "Fly Up" where vocoded lyrics are used in the background and in place of the traditional instrumental solos, or perhaps these robotic solos are meant to be verses? I don't know, but it sounds terrible and its execution lacks creativity. The following track "Robotic Walk" is also similar in its extended use of the vocoder, but this time the segments are a bit more creative and ironically not as robotic. "Back to the Basics" does take the technology back to the basics i.e. it sounds like something I made in FruityLoops and HammerHead Rhythm Studio 10+ years ago, but for a song about the basics it has way too much going on (again with the vocoder/talk box). The production on "Out There", "New York" and "Space Party" is a bit more controlled and enjoyable, but it is still lacking that special something to make them memorable.

The people of Troy used to have a saying Never look a gift horse in the mouth, and while they quickly abandoned it I still think that it is perfectly applicable to the Doctor is in. The album arrived with no warning, no hype and at a reasonable price, so dedicated Kool Keith fans like myself will be pleased to have another item in his ridiculously long discography. As with many of Keith's projects of this type, there is nothing here to recommend to new fans and will most likely be interesting enough for the intended audience. While the above review may sound overly negative, the album isn't that bad and I have found myself listening it to it multiple times without skipping any tracks, but on the other hand it is far from being a good album and will likely be forgotten about in the weeks to come (although the cover art will be remembered as one of his worst).

Sardless Tracks

  • Space Party

Track Listing

  1. Out There
  2. Fly Up
  3. Robotic Walk
  4. Back to the Basics
  5. New York Outfit<br/>feat. Sadat X &amp; Thirstin Howl the Third
  6. Space Party (Dragons Triangle Mix)<br/>feat. Paul Sea
  7. Alien Intervention