Kool Keith: Chromosomal Beatdown
Having just dropped Dr. Dooom 2, Keith sat down with HipHopDX to talk about basically anything but, instead outlining his new genetic theories about ugly rappers, Bigfoot and Cornell West.
HipHopDX: It's been about 20 years since Critical Beatdown. Did you expect to still be making music this far down the line?
Kool Keith: Of course I did. I just assume I'm gonna be making records. Everything is what it is.
DX: Compared to a lot of your peers, from that era you've done pretty well for yourself. Do you keep in touch with any of those artists from that time?
Kool Keith: I don't really meet a lot of my old school artist mates from back then. They talk about the past. I'm invited to a lot of conventions and stuff, but I can't seriously be stuck in that moment of what they were doing back then. They just kinda mad at the new school guys, so I don't go to a lot of those functions anymore. I try to stay away from that.
DX: So how do you feel about the new school guys?
Kool Keith: I like them. I'm like a professional in the NBA, they come into the league and I play with them also. I'm not doing what everybody else is doing no more.
DX: Do you hear your influence when you listen to younger artists?
Kool Keith: Yeah, of course, I set off a tone. Ultramagnetic [MC's] set off a whole lot of tones with the abstract. I had a lot of influence on all the artists coming up through the Lyricist Lounge, Project Blowed and that nostalgic group of people. Even with the Rawkus stuff, me and Godfather Don's collaborations, that evolved a lot of people. That's why you hear your Talib Kwelis [click to read] and the MF Dooms and all these groups that are coming out now are just coming through those trees. Those branches, those seeds we planted. We set a lot of tones for people, but they erased the history. And I moved on in my life and career, exploded into my world.
DX: Why do you think Ultra isn't mentioned as frequently as say a KRS-One or Rakim?
Kool Keith: I don't know. Ultra never had good publicists to really speak up and broadcast the truth, so people try to sweep them under the rug. Magazines will come out with issues and articles and do the "Top 10 Best Albums" and the "Best Groups of All Time," but they kinda... I think they was just jealous of Ultramagnetic. We wasn't copycats, we was always distinctive. Whereas other rappers had 20 rappers that sound like them, we never sounded like other groups. Take a guy like Rakim, he had like 20, 30,000 rappers that sounded like him. When he was out, everybody was [rapping] with the soft-toned voice. We were just hard to duplicate. I think people skipped a lot of history, even with Ced [Gee] You wouldn't have even heard of KRS-One [click to read] if it wasn't for Ced. That whole umbrella of Boogie Down Productions and Scott La Rock used to come up to Ced's house in the projects. "The Bridge is Over" [click to read] [used] the drums from "Funky." But people erase time and the past. A lot of people go into their life and their future and they forget everything.
That's another thing also that people have a bad habit of. How can you erase what you started? A lot of people don't want to remember, a lot of people pay publicists to cover the past. A lot of people have different issues in their musical careers that they, if you really go back and look at a lot of rappers before-and-after's you would be surprised. I mean, they got different parts of their careers that were different totally from their future. You see album covers all the time with different artists, they were different at a certain time.
DX: But you do that on a more open level with all your aliases, though.
Kool Keith: Yeah, but erase all my aliases and I'm still a distinctive person just within myself. Just Keith. It doesn't have to be different aliases, I did that on the strength. I show my own musical self.
DX: Are you ever worried about people losing the real Keith amidst all the alter egos?
Kool Keith: Of course, but then I'm not. I'm glad Lil Wayne [click to read] broke doors open because for a minute, the space thing became a myth. It's funny people jumped on him so late. I knew Lil Wayne was gonna prosper like 15 years ago. I knew he was gonna stand out with his youthfulness and ambition. So people are late. But I feel honored that he's doing space shit now, because a long time ago people used to come to me like [in generic thuggish voice] "Yo what's up with that space shit? that's some different shit, why you doin' that? But now look, I'm like, "Now what you gotta say?" I'm glad that verdict is already taken care of. It's like God meant it to go that way. I already had that seed planted. People look at me now, they can't say shit. It's done now. It's equivalent. I was ahead of my time and now time has caught up and people are doing the same shit I've already tried to tell them. Now they seeing it. It took times and wavelengths. You know Andre 3000 [click to read] and OutKast was prospering, all that shit had to marinate just now for people to get in their heads. Especially black people, the urban world. It took years to let people know what I set off. The seed I planted, it took a long time to grow.
DX: It seems people like Wayne are starting to open more doors for artists willing to take risks.
Kool Keith: It ain't really taking risks, he said what he wanted to say. He was like me. I was writing anything I wanted to say at any time I wanted to say it on any beat. I feel great, because the biggest music selling worldwide is concepts about [the] abstract and just space. It ain't about how many cars you driving, how much champagne I got on the table. I'm happy for the person.
DX: Assuming that space shit becomes the norm, where do you go from there?
Kool Keith: I go back to what I originally was - myself. What I was here from the beginning to be. What I've done before, what I'll continue to do. I made some shoes a long time ago that people wouldn't wear, now they fucking buying them like fucking hotcakes.
DX: So, getting away from the music, what are you into personally? What is the average day in the life of Kool Keith like?
Kool Keith: I'm into shopping, going to the mall, relaxing, buying some cookies. It's not all about music. I have a calm, different type of lifestyle. I go look at malls, talk to people. I like to feel adventurous in myself. I don't like to feel confined. I travel and go out [of] the hotel. I don't necessarily need a bodyguard to make one move. I'm youthful in myself. I feel young, I'm not an old looking rapper. I don't got my belly hanging over my belt. I'm not looking like I'm 75 years old, rapping. I look younger than a lot of rappers that rap to this day. I'm not sitting up eating pigs feet with a fucking rib in my hand, kicking lyrics. I feel great. I think once again, that revolves around Ultramagnetic. Me and Ced took care of ourselves, we stayed youthful, looking good. We didn't get on drugs, we didn't do too much heroin, we didn't do coke, we didn't get fat and eat up every fucking thing. I think people are just jealous, fuck it.
DX: It seems like you kind of harbor some resentment towards aging rappers.
Kool Keith: What, Asians?
Kool Keith: Naw I feel great, it's no resentment. People younger than me look older than me. It's no problem with me. We just take care of ourselves. People see us and they be like "Oh shit, I can't believe you niggas look like this." They expect to see us looking like somebody else. Like some old baseball players. They want us to look like Mickey Mantle or Whitey Ford, with gray hair. I don't know. I think people are just consistently jealous of us. Everybody around us is deteriorating. They get old, fat, get potbellys. A lot of successful motherfuckers are ugly. We live in a world of hate and jealousy. People don't like you looking good. A girl'll marry a dude with AIDS just to avoid a good looking guy. [Laughs]
DX: What do you mean by that?
Kool Keith: They'll marry a guy with AIDS because they don't care. It's the morals of the world. That's why the babies are ugly. All the kids are genetically fucked up right now because of the matchmaking. You look at Ebony and Jet, all these magazines, all the people getting married are old looking and ugly. You know, I'm deep. My genetic cultures is deep also. It's around the world. Women trade eggs and sperm with the most ugliest motherfuckers and the ugliest girls sleep with the ugliest guys and that produces an ugly baby. Every baby ain't pretty in a stroller, that's the truth. You look in the strollers and some of the kids are ugly. Hey, I got no animosity towards children, but that's the way the world is going.
DX: So you think only attractive people should be breeding?
Kool Keith: People should mate correctly. Like back in the day when people mated, it goes with the Billy Dee Williams syndrome. Back in the days, in your mothers days and your grandfather's time, people had a choice to pick people. You'd see your grandfathers pictures and he didn't look ugly. He looked like a nice looking guy. People now are going with mutants. Everybody's dating anybody. They don't give a fuck who they sleep with. Girls'll lay with anybody with no condoms on. They'll sleep with a guy with two heads, then get a retarded baby. So that's why the world's genetically fucked up, with people that's Mongolian looking. Everybody looks weird because everybody feels insecure. A fine girl don't want to match up with a nice looking dude. A nice looking dude don't want to match up with a nice looking girl. The world don't want to talk, society's socialism is down.
So you got ugly people. People been hurt by pretty people. People feel being ugly is safe. Ugly is evil, ugly is safe. People feel that they might hate people. That's why they got that old syndrome. People want to cut your face. People want to scratch you. People want to mess you up, make you look ugly. People want to punch you in the face, give you a black eye, make you ugly. [Laughs] Fuck 'em. I'm not ugly. You got hot rappers out here that look like Mick Jagger. They ain't got the composure and shit, a lot of people can't hold they pigmentation. It's few people that maintain themselves. They out there on drugs. You got a lot of people out there, their genetics are fucked up. You got a high rate of lesbianism, women don't like certain men no more. So when they do get a man they get with an ugly man. Some people are just satisfied to get married. We live in a chemical, fucked up world. Everything is chemically imbalanced. So every generation is uglier. You ever notice that? Ain't too many pretty people being born. [Laughs]
DX: So in a few generations we're just gonna be an ugly, ugly race?
Kool Keith: Oh man, we're gonna have fucking gorillas on earth. We're gonna have dinosaurs walking around. That's how fucking deep I am. Fuck rap. Humans gonna turn into dinosaurs. Ugly people gonna breed with ugly people and jealousy and hate and you're gonna see a lot of ugly motherfuckers walking around mad, evil, ready to try to hurt you. That's why I gotta be on defense. I gotta walk around with my fuckin' biochemical suit on.
DX: Have you been following the election much?
Kool Keith: Yeah, I like [Barack] Obama. He looks the same. [John] McCain look the same. All these people look the same. It's all just people with suits on, We live in a weird time right now, we live in a weird time zone. But my spirits are so strong, I predict my predictions are true. We in a time of hate breed.
DX: Damn, youve got me feeling depressed
Kool Keith: You shouldn't be. I think you should go out and make love to the ugliest woman in the world and feel good about it. [Laughs] She's happy in spirit though! Ugly women, they keep themselves clean. They have a lot to lose. They keep themselves clean and that's hygienically. They feel they're ugly so they gotta be at least clean. But when you pretty you be like, "I don't gotta wash my ass, I don't gotta douche or nothing. My face stay in the mirror. As long as I get my eyelashes done, get my face done and put some lipstick on, my body can just smell. I can smell so bad. I can put a dress on, I'm just pretty. Basketball players love me, football players love me. But I'm stinky."
DX: But isnt mating with ugly women contributing to the ugliness of the world?
Kool Keith: Well if you got beauty in you, maybe you could help her. You could breed back what's going on ugly. Breed back. Get two for one. Maybe have three kids with her that could be nice, pretty. Even though she's ugly, hey you helping out. That's what we gotta do, because ugly with the ugly ain't working. Find you an ugly bitch, get married. A lot of women walking around society looking for the perfect man but it doesn't exist. So they'll marry anybody. They'll marry a man with AIDS. As long as he get married and proposed on his knees. He could be like, "I've got full blown AIDS... would you marry me?"
DX: What kind of a proposal is that?!
Kool Keith: That's what I'm saying. You could have Hepatitis... A. You could have anything. They do not care. They could have a baby that can't see. That's why a lot of girls are born different. You seen the new jeans? They don't fit on they butt right. Because they asses was made funny now, because of the genetics. They don't have a curve no more. Some people got a square ass, and everything looks fucked up. The body parts are made different. The torso may be too long. Everything is fucked up genetically. It's a chemical that went out. And it's called Ugly. It's bad. So you gotta impregnate a bunch of ugly women, make them have pretty babies, help them out, and their daughters will look beautiful. I'm glad I didn't get caught up in that time zone that is the new generation. You ever look at the new kids? Look at that new Center that was chosen for The Rockets. What's the new guys name? That big guy?
DX: Yao Ming.
Kool Keith: Do your chemical research. He's gonna have a baby. Maybe a pretty woman would have a baby with him. It ain't only for the girls either. Guys too, you got ugly guys producing. People should put on a condom, stop reproduction. Stop bad reproduction. God bless the boy who brings the ugly child in this world. He didn't ask to be here. Now people want to show their babies, but they need to cover 'em up. You might have a son that's 7'5" looking like fuckin' Lurch. Like a circus, like a freak show. Genetics are messed up. Everybody crossing their genetics. You have a freak show. You run a circus.
DX: But it won't it eventually be like on that episode of The Twilight Zone where the few beautiful people will be considered ugly and the ugly ones beautiful?
Kool Keith: Ugly people are not beautiful! I like ugly people that are humble, but you got a lot of people who are ugly that think they the shit. And you got pretty people who sleep with ugly people because they are insecure. You got women that are beautiful and they can't cook. They can't cook an egg. You got all these athletes marrying women you actually pulling the veil over somebodys face, you lifting it up to kiss somebody who can't boil a fuckin' hot dog. You can't cook, you not clean. My girl is not like that, but it's a lot of women out here with high expectations but they don't even go into Duane Reade and get vaginal deodorant. They don't even go wash. Walking around smelling like shit. [Laughs] I don't care. I'm just telling you, I'm more than a rapper, I'm an evolutionist. And I don't even know what rap got to do with Cornell [West], a motherfucker that look like a weird scientist. All he need is a wand. What does Dr. Cornell got to do with rap? Cornell should go fuckin' jump in a fuckin' river. I would like to see Cornell in the street and tie him up and cut his fuckin' hair off. Just give him a clean bald head and say, "Keep walkin'." What the fuck Cornell got to do with rap?
DX: Have you ever read any of his books?
Kool Keith: I would never read Cornell's books! I think Cornell is the new science monkey. He's a scientific monkey. He's lab mice, he's the new lab mice. The fuck? Cornell needs to go somewhere and eat a fucking banana. He's the last monkey standing.
DX: Getting back to the music side of things, tell me a little about the new Dr. Dooom album.
Kool Keith: Uh... it's just a Dooom album Dooom is Keith lyrically again the video looks crazy bugged out we kill [Dr.] Octagon
DX: Anything else you want to address?
Kool Keith: Not really, just peace and love to the earth and the land and let's see what the vibes are out there with people and shit. And everybody be careful of who you're mating with. Look in his family, do a genetic research on his family. See if he have a Lurch in his family. Look and see if he has an Uncle Fester or something. Everybody's living like The Munsters. Frankenstein and little Eddie Munster. That's what the average family looks like right now. It's fucked up but it's real. You gotta watch the fuck out because you could have the Munster family.