Kool Keith side projects are hit or miss (Nogatco Rd., Black Elvis, Tashan Dorrsett). But one thing is certain with each and every one of them, they’re all adventurous bursts of psychotic observations over (often) cool, baby-makin’ beats. Time? Astonishing! isn’t Dr. Octagonecolgyst (Dr. Octagon), First Come, First Served (Dr. Dooom), or even Project Polaroid, but it’s (very) laid back, classic Kool Keith, and worthy of a spin and a purchase. Keeping up with all of Mr. Keith’s aliases is exhausting, something I’m sure this legendary MC gets a maniacal chuckle over.
By every conceivable understanding of the phrase, Dr. Octagon is without question NOT your mother’s Hip-Hop. Defined by Google as:
1. a style of popular music of US black and Hispanic origin, featuring rap with an electronic backing.
Dr. Octagon is an X-rated barrel-shot through the grotesque-minded brilliance of the lyrical magician Kool Keith, backed with the autonomous production of the genre-bending (never breaking) Mr. Dan Nakamura (AKA Dan the Automator), mingled with the turntable chemist DJ Q-Bert (as well as a slew of genteel guest stars). In short, Dr. Octagon is the last doctor you’ll ever need, because he’s the last doctor you’ll ever see. Your mother would not approve of this disgusting display of Hip-Hop-ery.
What would qualify as “your mother’s Hip-Hop” you ask?
– Fat Boys
– PM Dawn
– Vanilla Ice (after a sixer of Zima)
The doctor is out… call back after midnight to make an appointment with the receptionist.
(Please note that this is not an album review. This has been explicitly stated so that I may repurpose this album for a future, much less lazy-minded post, you dig?)
Long and tumultuous is the road to a completed collection. Be it the full 792 cards in the 1990 Topps baseball set, all four collectible Garfield and Odie mugs released by McDonald’s back in 1978, or in this case, my half completed collection of Grand Royal Magazines.
With issue #1 released in 1993 (and one of the three I don’t have), and the final issue, #6, released in 1997, it’s safe to say the Grand Royal team was taking their sweet-ass time publishing these now sought-after mid-90s gems. That initial judgment of a painfully obvious (and very Los Angeles) lackadaisical workflow couldn’t be further from the truth as this current issue, issue #3, is JAM-MUTHA-TRUCKIN’-PACKED! Packed with what, you ask? How about interviews with Dr. Octagon aka Kool Keith, San Pedro’s own Mike Watt, and the Dalai Lama (conducted by Adam Yauch, RIP MCA), a guide to sneaking into hotel pools in the Hollywood area courtesy of Spike Jonze, an in-depth look at the paintings of Evel Knievel, horse racing tips from Pavement’s Bob Nastanovich, and countless, as well as fearlessly stunning, vintage album ads spanning from Weezer’s Pinkerton to Sukia’s Contacto Espacial Con El Tercer Sexo… and all of this by page 37 (of 140)!!
It’s taken me close to 20 years to acquire three of only six Grand Royal Magazines, and it’ll probably take me another 20 to secure the remaining three. The upside, however, is that it’s taken me nearly two decades to ingest the onslaught found within issues 2, 3 and 5, so when my ship finally comes in, I’ll have another 20 years of dynamite reading material at my grubby little fingertips. (Often Wrong, Never in Doubt is the title to Grand Royal Magazine issue #3, btw. A straight lift on my part.)