You wouldn’t necessarily expect Kool Keith, the Bronx-based emcee spitting “the essence of urban living at its all-time fullest,” to capitalize on repackaged or repurposed material. But then again, take the message of the intro to this new remix EP: “in a world led by corruption, economic crisis is bringing man to his darkest side.”
And, apparently, a creative dearth for Keith – he seems conspicuously absent from this new disc.
Kool Keith, aka Dr. Dooom, aka Dr. Octagon, since his work with Dan The Automator in the early ‘90s, has always been heralded as a bit of a weirdo, in production and in lyrical content.
Unfortunately, The Legend of Tashan Dorrsett, out now on Junkadelic Music, distills his aesthetic just a little too much, cuts out the obscurity, filth and mind-bending weirdness he’s known for in favor of something a little more mainstream-ready.
Handing over 12 of the 21 tracks from Kool Keith’s original Tashan Dorrsett to a grip of producers known and not-so-much, The Legend of Tashan Dorrsett as a collection of remixes is more about the theme of that original record than that record’s star.
It seems Tashan Dorrsett was meant as more of a thematic touchstone here rather than a set of rigid guidelines. So while a lot of this work is arguably new, if you’re expecting the essence of Keith to shine, you’re better off buying the original album.
As for the tracks: Some come off as through a rap-rock filter, with the original beats at times just stacked with a little guitar or more aggressive beats. Other cuts just seem a bit stampier, hand-clappier, ready for the club.
Some of the tracks are also just compressed to hell – the “Booty Clap” mix is so loud it’s mind-blowing. The freshest reinterpretation would arguably be “Track Runner,” sporting new verses from Marc Live, Raaddrr Van and Tr Love.
It takes on a pretty timeless hip-hop theme (endless party) and so is hard not to dig. But at the same time, it’s easy to miss the in-and-out French-to-English rhymes of Dgiz from the original cut.
While this disc is a must-have for Kool Keith super fans or the club DJ who’s been trying to figure out how to make Keith’s pornocore madness dance-floor ready, at this moment, the updated production and few extra verses don’t make it worth the trouble if you’re expecting classic doses of the doctor.