Loading...
Review

Kool Keith x Thetan – Space Goretex Review

Band: Kool Keith x Thetan
Album: Space Goretex
Label: Anti-Corporate Music
Genre: Alternative Hip-Hop
Country: US
Release Date: April 10th, 2020
For Fans Of: Outkast, Beastie Boys, Cypress Hill

Kool Keith is a legend in the hip-hop scene and is known to be one of the genre’s most eccentric characters, hailing from the birthplace of hip-hop, New York City. Thetan is a more obscure, powerviolence/hardcore duo hailing form Nashville, Tennessee. While for some this collaboration may seem rather strange, if you take a look at the history of hip-hop, there have been many rappers/groups who have collaborated with rock/metal bands, such as Public Enemy with Anthrax, Run-D.M.C. with Aerosmith, as well as rappers jumping onto rock/metal inspired instrumentals, like the Beastie Boys and Cypress Hill. Kool Keith and Thetan are just some of the latest in this line. 

Space Goretex could be described as an alternative hip-hop album. Kool Keith, known for his absurd, profane, and often nonsensical lyrics, continues spitting over genre-bending beats. Keith is also known for his army of alter-egos, a few of which appear on this album, notably Dr. Octagon, Dr. Dooom, and Black Elvis. The song Dedication discusses Keith’s devotion to these characters, as well as spitting some trivia about them. Complicated Trip details a road trip that turns tense as Octagon, Dooom, and Elvis travel with a lone female companion named Vagina Lucy. Each of the three male characters has some form of sexual interaction with Lucy, making the others jealous, and Lucy gets off on the competition for her affections. Keith’s extensive usage of his characters, however, may be confusing to and hinder enjoyment for listeners who aren’t at least vaguely familiar with his past works.

While Keith’s lyrics on Space Goretex are still funny, strange, and entertaining, they feel a lot more toned down than the more colorful lines he was spitting on his older works, such as Sex Style or Dr. Octagonecologyst. Nothing Kool Keith says on Space Goretex is nearly as memorable as “You want some birth-control? You can smoke a cigarette” or “N****s suck my dick and they girls drink my pee”. In addition, a lot of the songs, such as In Pursuit of Vagina Lucy and Bad Dreams feel like even though they seem to follow some kind of concept, the execution isn’t fully fleshed out or coherent. Very often it feels like Keith is just throwing out a bunch of lyrics filled with space and sci-fi themed words without actually saying much of substance, such as in the song Robots On The Automators, which is so short that you kinda wonder what even is the point of the song. These kinds of “spiritual-miracle” lyrics made it hard for me to maintain interest in what Keith was saying at times. Kool Keith’s delivery also just sounds a lot less enthusiastic on this album, almost as if to say “Here is just another addition to my large-ass catalogue”. The passion and energy Keith displayed back in the 90s is long gone on Space Goretex.

The Thetan-performed instrumentals are heavy with bass, drums, synths, and theremin, producing eerie, extraterrestrial, and psychedelic drone sounds, combined with some old school boom bap influences and scratching. The musical backdrop here is hypnotic, lush, and atmospheric, bringing to life the crazy space-and-alien themed lyrics Keith delivers. Some songs tend towards the heavier side, such as Hallucinations and the instrumental passage on the outro End Transmission, while others like Bad Dreams and Bedtime Stories are much more stripped down and sparse. 

The instrumentals played by Thetan here are not all that similar to what they have played on their own solo records, so someone listening to this album to hear Thetan’s high-energy powerviolence or hardcore punk may be disappointed when they don’t get that. However, that is not to say that the instrumentals aren’t good. I’m actually pretty impressed that the boys in Thetan play a different style of music so well on this record. The skits on the album are generally entertaining and actually help with the pacing of the album, stopping it from becoming monotonous. They often serve as intros to the songs they precede, giving the listener a taste of what is to come.

Overall, I do think that Space Goretex is a fairly solid album. Sonically the music does a great job on constructing a trippy sci-fi atmosphere. However, I do also feel that Kool Keith’s age shows with his more subdued flows and less ambitious bars. Thetan fans might be surprised to hear how different these instrumentals are from what they typically play, but it’s great that they can flex their musical versatility. If you’re interested in hearing Thetan play something that’s more out of their element, check Space Goretex out, but if you’re looking to hear Kool Keith fully demonstrate his mastery on the microphone, go give his older essential albums a spin.

Rating: 7/10

Tracklist:

  1. Spasm In The Chasm
  2. Hallucinations
  3. Let’s Take A Trip
  4. Roadside Blowout
  5. Nite Heist
  6. Dedication
  7. Prelude To The Robot
  8. Robots On The Automators
  9. Complicated Trip
  10. Bad Dreams
  11. Accolades
  12. Gaping Black Hole
  13. In Pursuit Of Vagina Lucy
  14. Bedtime Stories
  15. End Transmission

Total Playing Time: 34:26

Click here to visit Thetan’s Bandcamp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *