Staff Pick: Kool Keith
Kool Keith emerged as Dr. Octagon in 1996, announcing, "I'm not just a doctor, I am a man."Nearly every move since has further distanced the Bronx-born rapper, who first surfaced in '88 with Ultramagnetic MCs, from this humble descriptor. Whether he's adopting outsized musical alter egos (Black Elvis, Poppa Large, etc.) or spinning trippy, tongue-twisting verses that mirror the feel of navigating a Dali canvas, little about Kool Keith could be termed ordinary.
Now in his early 50s, the rapper has shown little desire to ease his way into retirement, releasing four full-length albums since 2015, including two this year:The Preacher (under the alias Tashan Dorrsett) andFeature Magnetic, which lives up to its title, attracting an array of guests to rap alongside the artist, including Slug of Atmosphere and the equally enigmatic MF Doom.
On "Tired," one of the album's more lucid moments, Keith equates this late-career surge to an exhaustive work ethic he sees lacking in the industry ("I'm tired of the laziness," he sighs) and grouses that he still doesn't get his due, rapping, "They get surprised when I come up and shine like the sun." Fortunately he's back to uncorking XXX, "Caligula"-esque tales just one song later, like a kid content to flick spitballs from the back of the classroom rather than worrying if he'll be eating with the popular clique in the lunchroom.
Ace of Cups
8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15
2619 N. High St., Old North
ALSO PLAYING: James D. Conqueror, DJ Mikey P