Kool Keith has been an influential rap weirdo ever since his original group Ultramagnetic MCs made their debut with the classic 1988 album Critical Beatdown. But Keith’s weirdness arguably went into full flower in 1996, when Keith teamed up with mostly-unknown Bay Area producer Dan The Automator and absurdly skilled DJ QBert, hatching a concept album about a surreal, sex-addled sadist alien doctor. In 1996, the trio, calling themselves Dr. Octagon, released the album Dr. Octagonecologyst, an underground rap landmark that was passed around music-dork circles like a whispered rumor. Now, 22 years later, they’ve followed it up.
Next week, the reunited trio behind Dr. Octagonecologyst will return with the new album Moosebumps: An Exploration Into Modern Day Horripilation. And while nostalgic rap-reunion efforts have a fairly grim track record, the three artists have done a remarkable job recapturing both the sound and the tone of the original album. If anything, these sound so much like unreleased ’90s Dr. Octagon tracks that it’s jarring to hear Keith make reference to, say, Dwyane Wade.
The trio recorded the album during long sessions at Automator’s studio, and the album makes no concession to recent trends. The only guest is fellow Automator collaborator Del The Funky Homosapien, who was making similar strides around the same time as the Octagon persona was being born. We’ve already posted the early tracks “Octagon Octagon” and “Area 54.” And right now, you can stream the whole album at NPR.
Moosebumps: An Exploration Into Modern Day Horripilation is out 4/6 on Bulk Recordings.