Gosh, I almost feel dirty even writing about this album, never mind listening to it… now frankly I’m no expert on making the beast with two backs, but I’m pretty certain that some of the things Kool Keith raps about on this album are really not normal. Heck, I know the guy’s crazy and everything, but I don’t even think he really means what he’s rapping about. Kool Keith has always been about taking some commonplace rap material and sending it in a completely warped direction; his preceding album Dr. Octagonecologyst featured Keith taking on the persona of an incompetent, extraterrestrial Doctor who pretended to be a female and seduced his nurses and patients. It’s all done in such a tongue and cheek style and in no way does anyone take it seriously; if anything one could take it as Keith making a deeper commentary on the genre’s obsession with these things and using this ridiculous persona to mock them. (Kind of precedes Eminem’s Slim Shady persona in that regard) So Sex Style, an album self-described as “pornocore,” isn’t really a surprising move for the guy I guess. Having said that, it’s still shockingly ridiculous and even more hilarious, from the incredibly distasteful album cover that I’ve polluted this blog with (although for a Kool Keith album not bad; see the similarly bad and equally distastefully named Spankmaster) to Kool Keith’s mercurial, sleazy lyrics.
Frequently interspersed with porno samples and bizarre explicit vocal samples, (“May they beat his balls with a ten-pound hammer, till his asshole whistles The Star-Spangled Banner!”) Kool Keith proceeds to jump right into it on the title track without the benefit of a forewarning. It’s ridiculously explicit and features some of the more bizarre and hilarious lyrics I’ve ever heard; I’ll spare you some specifics but quite a few of them involve Keith urinating on people, both lovers and enemies. (“Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”) Like I said, I’m pretty sure (and hopeful) that Keith doesn’t really act like this… but you never know. That’s what I’m telling myself; at any rate I don’t take the lyrics seriously, and I really can’t imagine Keith taking them too seriously either which is why they’re funny. It’s pretty amusing to hear him satirizing the whole sex-obsessed rap community at any rate with his hardcore lyrics. You’re probably wondering if the whole concept works over the course of a whole album; I have to say it does, then again, this is one of the weirdest albums I’ll admit to liking, and under no circumstances would I actually feel comfortable recommending it to anyone… I just feel I have to draw attention to its existence as one of those really out-there creations. Also, we’re not talking about entire songs dedicated to some questionable sexual practices – there are of course some, but Keith is an intelligent rapper (no, really) and a lot of his explicit material is incorporated into some clever disses about other rappers and stream of consciousness tales. So despite being a concept that could fail to work over the course of an hour, Keith’s inventiveness and lyrical prowess ensures the album stays both engaging and entertaining. And one more thing I’ll say is that the beats are actually really good… they’re generally slow, deep, funky beats, post G-Funk, with a perfect adaptability for Keith to rap over in any of his chosen styles: frantic, comical beats for a few verbose soliloquies on Make Up Your Mind, sleazy, $2 motel style drawls on the sordid The Mack Is Back, and classic heavy beats for the more standard rap battle Still The Best.
I’m not really recommending this album, so to speak, I’m just admitting, confessing, that I find it pretty darn amusing. Keith is a world-class rapper but the direction he’s chosen for his career is one that’s not going to get him a lot of recognition or sales. I guess I respect him for doing whatever the heck he wants to do, as bizarre as that as, and frankly he never really gets more bizarre than this. Listen for a laugh if you must, but do it in secret, lest ye be judged.
Words - Adam