Kool Keith – Sex Style (Throwback Thursday Review)

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By his second album, Kool Keith already had a long & iconic career. With multiple albums with the legendary group Ultramagnetic MCs & various collaborations with other MCs, he had the career of a veteran at this point. Albums like Critical Beatdown had laid trends for years to come, and albums like Dr. Octagon have been album to transcend hip hop. So the question becomes, where do you go from here?

Kool Keith’s answer was going weirder & weirder. As if it wasn’t weird enough to create a concept about a time traveling gynecologist, Keith’s next move was to make an album with in the style of “pornocore.” While it might not be groundbreaking album Dr. Octagonecologyst was, Sex Style managed to be an even rawer & absurdist experience.

Kool Keith – Sex Style

Its an album that’s not for the faint of heart, as the lyrics get more explicit than any other hip hop release that you can find. Any time you think there’ll be a moment of brevity, its interrupted by interspersed porn dialogue or moans. He goes into deep detail on the methods of sex, as niche as they come. There are practically no corners of the porn industry that go untouched.

If you are able to stomach it all though, its a gratifying experience. Keith’s flows are as ambitious as ever, creating pockets that most rappers wouldn’t dare touch. His hooks are always find this way too get stuck in your head, “Plastic World” & “Sex Style” have this extended delivery that makes them so catchy. When you are able to separate from Keith’s insane flow, you’re greeted with these otherworldly instrumentals.

One song that points as to why this album exists in the first place is “Plastic World.” He opens the song with the mockingly third-person view on himself, criticizing how he shouldn’t indulge in these outlandish concepts. Throughout, he explains why he left New York, his traveling to other hot spots of the hip hop industry, and the fakeness of the industry. This viewpoint is extremely interesting in a modern context, as many view this era with rose-tinted glasses, while Keith in this very moment had immense disdain for it.

Kool Keith – Plastic World

Its this centerpiece of the album that makes everything make sense. The uncomfortableness that comes out of the album is fully on purpose, driving away the copycats & allowing for new foundations to be explored. Keith, whether hip hop liked it or not, was here to innovate & nothing would stand in his way. Its an album not for the hip hop purist, but the diehard.

This anti-industry mentality permeates throughout every release from here on out, as releases like Matthew are some of the most damning on this front. None of it would exist without the starting point of this album, which is easily the most challenging of his entire catalogue. Sexual content is always a focal point of his music, but none take it to the extremes that this album manages to. Yet all in all, Kool Keith managed to make a hip hop album so hip hop it can’t be mistaken for anything else. In a way, its the anti-thesis to the praise Dr. Octagonecologyst was receiving, which was being shared in circles far out of hip hop’s space.

To this day, you’ll be hard pressed to find any music like this. Its a release that may not be as influential as his other works, but feels like a personal statement. An album that proves the genre shouldn’t be kept to one style or topic, instead making a grand statement that it should be anything & everything. If no one was going to do it, Keith was willing to take up the mantle.

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