Record Label: Junkadelic Music
An original member of New York's new-school pioneers the Ultramagnetic MCs, Keith Thornton is best known as a solo rapper. His signature styles stream-of-consciousness lyrical flow and complex vocals, two skills that earn him a perennial nod from the underground hip-hop community. The average Kool Keith album is peppered with bizarre, disjointed, even delusional or disassociated themes, concepts, and references. Nearly all of his albums incorporate a satirical dislike for more commercialized strains of hip-hop, as well as major record label scams.
After single-handedly redefining "warped" as the mind and mouth behind the Bronx-based Ultramagnetic MC's, "Kool" Keith Thornton -- aka Rhythm X, aka Dr. Octagon, aka Dr. Dooom, aka Mr. Gerbik -- headed for the outer reaches of the stratosphere with a variety of solo projects. A onetime psychiatric patient at Bellevue, Keith's lyrical thematics remained as free-flowing here as they ever were with the N.Y. trio, connecting up complex meters with fierce, layers-deep metaphors and veiled criticisms of those who "water down the sound that comes from the ghetto." His own debut single, "Earth People" by Dr. Octagon, was quietly released in late 1995 on the San Francisco-based Bulk Recordings, and the track spread like wildfire through the hip-hop underground, as did the subsequent self-titled full-length released the following year.
Featuring internationally renowned DJ Q-Bert (of Invisibl Skratch Piklz) on turntables, as well as the Automator and DJ Shadow behind the boards, Dr. Octagon's left-field fusion of sound collage, fierce turntable work, and bizarre, impressionistic rapping found audiences in the most unlikely of places, from hardcore hip-hop heads to jaded rock critics. Although a somewhat sophomoric preoccupation with body parts and scatology tended to dominate the album, Keith's complex weave of associations and shifting references is quite often amazing in its intricacy. The record found its way to the U.K.-based abstract hip-hop imprint Mo'Wax (for whom Shadow also recorded) in mid-1996, and was licensed by the label for European release (Mo'Wax also released a DJ-friendly instrumental version of the album titled, appropriately, The Instrumentalyst [Octagon Beats]).
The widespread popularity of the album eventually landed Keith at DreamWorks in 1997; the label gave Dr. Octagon (retitled Dr. Octagonecologyst) its third release mid-year, adding a number of bonus cuts. In early 1999, however, Keith's alter ego Dr. Dooom unfortunately "killed off" Dr. Octagon on the opening track of First Come, First Served (released on Thornton's own Funky Ass label). Kool Keith signed to Ruffhouse/MCA for his second album under that alias, 1999's Black Elvis/Lost in Space. Records released as Kool Keith followed in 2000 (Matthew) and 2001 (Spankmaster), while the 2002 collaboration Gene appeared as KHM (Kool Keith plus H-Bomb and Marc Live). His next project was a four-rapper group named Thee Undatakerz with Keith taking on a new persona, Reverand Tom. Kool Keith Presents Thee Undatakerz hit the streets in May 2004. Keeping busy, Keith released Diesel Truckers in August of the same year with old friend/producer KutMasta Kurt.
As if 2004 hadn't been filled with enough Kool Keith releases, some truly oddball ones started to appear that year. The Official Space Tape borrowed from previous releases to create the ultimate Keith mixtape, the R&B-leaning Personal Album was released in a limited edition of 500 and with a high price tag, plus the Real Talk label issued Dr. Octagon, Pt. 2, an unauthorized release that had little to do with the original and was quickly pulled from the shelves by court order. The next year was much calmer with the Global Enlightenment, Pt. 1 DVD being released at the beginning of the year, followed by Lost Masters, Vol. 2 in the summer. Nogatco Rd. from 2006 introduced a new character, Mr. Nogatco ("Octagon" backward). The UFO-obsessed album was a collaboration with producer Iz-Real. The two-CD Collabs Tape compilation and The Return of Dr. Octagon followed soon after. In early 2007, Keith was part of a Ultramagnetic MC's reunion that yielded Best Kept Secret.
Tashan Dorrsett, another concept- driven release from Keith, was released in 2009. Following early 2011 is the "Legend Of Tashan Dorrsett" remix album including remixes and exclusives by Hip-Hop legends Marley Marl, Domingo, Ultrmagnetic's TR Love, Agallah Don Bishop to name a few. Early 2012, Keith released the single "Anorexic" (labeled as a Ultramagnetic track) and flooded the internet with the hit records New York and The Game Is Free
Keith's main event for 2012 will be the release of his highly anticipated new solo album Love & Danger produced by Dj Junkaz Lou and starring Def''s Shad brainiac MC Keith Murray, and NYC's groundbreaking combo Megabone .
What possible appeal could AOR (Adult Orientated Rock) have for the street wise hip-hop producer? Well for a start these records were very common. Many sold in their millions, and even those that didn't, at a time when the record industry was in very rude health were pressed in great numbers. If you were an impoverished would be hip hop producer they would be available for cents in thrift stores and other repositories of vinyl ephemera. Once they had bought the record they were in for a surprise. These records could contain a hell of a lot of soul. AOR Breaks is a new (and unofficial) compilation of Classic AOR tracks, performed by the original artists, many of which have been sampled by some of Hip Hop's finest, such as Biz Markie, 2Pac, Warren G, Snoop Dogg, Puff Daddy and more. The album features major artists including Steve Miller Band, Joe Cocker, Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald, Toto, Kenny loggins, ELO and many others from the scene.
Further carving out it’s place as the home for cutting-edge R&B, Fresh Selects is proud to present the beginning of something special. A formidable songwriter working behind the scenes with major R&B stars for years now - Inglewood, L.A.-based multi-talent, SiR, is now stepping to the forefront with his official solo debut. Effortlessly combining his instantly recognizable voice and universally relatable songwriting with the rawness of the indie L.A. beat scene - SiR defines his own sound that’s both refreshingly new and immediately digestible at the same time. A rare combination of mass appeal and artistic integrity, he’s poised to bring pop appeal to the underground, and substance and a unique ear for production to the mainstream. On his full-length debut, Seven Sundays, his writing covers the full spectrum of a relationship - from infatuation to heartbreak, playful indulgence to addictive co-dependency, and ultimately, growth through letting go. Throughout the album’s 14 tracks, each one single-worthy in it’s own right, SiR flexes his pen game through both personal soul-bearing, vivid storytelling and lighthearted shit-talking alike. SiR’s recent writing placements include Jill Scott’s new single “Fool’s Gold,” plus forthcoming songs by Melanie Fiona (including a duet w/ Mr. Stevie Wonder), Robert Glasper & Anita Baker, Bilal & Tweet, Tyrese & Marsha Ambrosius, and about a dozen others. His debut LP also boasts an all-star line-up of producers, including Knxwledge (known for his work with Kendrick Lamar, Joey BADA$$ and Blu), Iman Omari (Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller, Ty Dolla $ign), DK The Punisher (Justin Bieber, Dom Kennedy), Chris Dave (Blue Note recording artist, drummer for Adele, D’Angelo), J LBs (Jhene Aiko, Casey Veggies), Alvin Isaacs II (Boyz II Men, Trey Songz) and Tiffany Gouché (Iggy Azalea, Little Simz) - making it an audible time capsule of an exciting moment-in-time for an entire new wave of Los Angeles talent. With all of the stars aligned in it’s favor, it’s a safe bet that Seven Sundays will prove in time to be the seminal West Coast R&B album of 2015!
From Leaving Records, the debut album from drummer Deantoni Parks – John Cale, Sade, The Mars Volta, Flying Lotus collaborator. The relationship between music and technology is always evolving ... but true music can not exist without a soul. Some extraordinary musicians augment their natural talents with technology, adopting its benefits to fuel their own singular vision, and that is the basis of Deantoni Parks' debut album Technoself. Parks is one of the finest drummers working today, displaying a sleek and intuitive balance between raw rhythmic physicality and machine-like precision. He can play on one hand what many great drummers could not achieve with two – which he does frequently. His skills have seen him perform with artists such as John Cale, Sade, The Mars Volta, Flying Lotus and his own boundary-pushing group KUDU, among others. Notable collaborations aside, Parks is an artist in his own right, constantly in motion and expanding towards something new. On Technoself, you hear Parks totally in control. Three of the tracks were recorded live in a session at Dub Lab, the others in a studio. In his own words, "The sound result of Technoself is a digestion of sounds being refined, filtered, and re-arranged in the time period of the average thought." There are no overdubs or loops on this record. The sound is that of "segmented, split-second curated soundscapes atop a highway of refined, war-drum rhythms." The album plays out like a percussive crash course winding through Parks' diverse influences and moods, where the only constant is Deantoni's unmistakable sense of movement. In this case, the most important piece of technology turns out to be the human body.
"Anyone looking for proof that John Coltrane's exalted status is so deserved need only to glance at the amount of time this album took to record. In just three days (Oct 24 - 26, 1960), Coltrane managed to almost effortlessly produce this milestone of modern jazz, and the impeccable Jones/Tyner/Davis line up that supports Coltrane solos ('But Not For Me') give the entire session the feeling that we are experiencing pure genius."