Critic's Pick

The strange antics of Keith Thornton -- the rapper alternatively known as Kool Keith, Dr. Dooom, or Dr. Octagon -- began well before his pioneering work with Brooklyn's Ultramagnetic MCs. His unpredictable, often psychotic wordplay is obviously informed by time spent in a Bellevue Hospital straitjacket. After a pair of almost-tame records, Keith's new Spankmaster album takes us back to the prurient propaganda and scatological outbursts of 1997's lewd 'n' lascivious Sex Style, with dangerous offerings such as "Girls Would U F*ck Tonight" and "Spankmaster (Take Off Your Clothes)." Spankmaster's bargain-basement production and endless supply of surreal rhymes prove that Keith's imaginative mind is again in the gutter, where he evidently finds his best material. Inexplicably Kool Keith's performance is part of the Latin rock- oriented Watcha Tour.

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