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Black Elvis / Lost in Space
Kool Keith
Black Elvis / Lost in Space
Genres: Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1

Kool Keith, aka Black Elvis, Dr. Octagon, Poppa Large, Dr. Dooom, and about a dozen personae, got his start with the Bronx-based Ultramagnetic MC's in the mid-1980s. Although revered, their recordings made little commercia...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Kool Keith
Title: Black Elvis / Lost in Space
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Ruffhouse
Original Release Date: 8/10/1999
Release Date: 8/10/1999
Genres: Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop
Styles: West Coast, Experimental Rap, Pop Rap
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 031895002428

Kool Keith, aka Black Elvis, Dr. Octagon, Poppa Large, Dr. Dooom, and about a dozen personae, got his start with the Bronx-based Ultramagnetic MC's in the mid-1980s. Although revered, their recordings made little commercial impact and the group disbanded. Since then Keith has enigmatically swung from project to project, maintaining a deliberately inscrutable cloak of aliases and alter egos. The result is a catalog that is high in concept, broad in scope, and completely, utterly wacky: it's hip-hop as Darius James writes novels and Terry Gilliam makes films. Only a few other artists--Definition of Sound and Divine Styler most notably--have ever come close to achieving similar results. Judging from the results of this recording, one of Keith's more straight-ahead, more rappers should try. On Lost, Keith's rhymes are unpredictable, obscure, and hilarious. On "Static," he somehow rhymes Benjamins with basketball star Scottie Pippen, (ex-NFL quarterback Mark) Rypien, and 1960s boxing champ Sonny Liston; elsewhere he namechecks 1970s journeymen basketballers Darnell Hillman and Slick Watts. He's critical of hip-hop pretension on many tracks, most notably "I Need a Release Date." Although the recording features a solid, contemporary bounce, Keith is completely old school--it's his whimsical words and unique delivery that matter most. --Martin Johnson

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CD Reviews

Kruel Keith: A true master of the game
DukeOfEarl | Phoenix, AZ United States | 01/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Keith, admist whatever else he calls himself, and the man with a concept behind almost every album, incorporates two concepts into this 1999 release: 'Black Elvis' and 'Lost In Space.' While the 'space' concept was nothing unfamiliar to him, the 'Black Elvis' moniker was, yet he embraces it effortlessly. Despite the two concepts at play here, this seems like Keith is completely free to talk about whatever he wants. He covers criticising of unoriginal emcees often, but usually in an abstract way. You get much of his esoteric humor, references to basketball players and other celebrities, and then many songs dealing with ladies as always.
This album actually has moments where you get the non-conforming Keith veering dangerously close to commercial territory on some spots. Tracks like (the female R&B-sung chorus in)"All The Time," "Master Of The Game,"(traditional West Coast/down South flavor) and possibly "Supergalactic Lover" sound unusually close to stuff you hear often on the radio. At times, Keith waters down his lyrics on these three, but he still brings enough entertainment and energy on all three to keep the momentum of the album moving. Actually, this is the most consistent, smoothest-flowing album that I've listened to in a LONG time! A big reason why I gave it five stars.

The first four songs are really appealing. The intro is funny and has a slick, short verse by Keith. His clever, abstract, unique, and odd wordplay kicks off in "Lost In Space," which has a weird chorus, but one you would expect if you know Keith. It has become commonplace for me to hear Keith say the weirdiest things in his songs, it no longer bugs me anymore, maybe why I embraced this album so easily! "Rockets On The Battlefield" is a BANGER, and "Livin' Astro" is fun and funky, where he references Lionel Ritchie, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Elton John, and many others. Later on we have "I'm Seeing Robots,"(dedicated to the one-dimensional, stuck-up, high-maintainance women with fake assets) which grew on me very quickly. This song is so funny, so true! Right after is the collab with Sadat X on "Static." That's right: Sadat from Brand Nubian. Sadat and Keith have like nothing in common except that they both possess higher-pitched, unique voices. "Static" is not as mesmorizing and funky as it is a successful collaboration between two extremely different MC's.
Further in, we have "Maxi Curls" which displays some braggodocio and Keith roasting copycat rappers at his finest. "Keith Turbo" is the only track I still can't get into, it's almost too boring. Next is "Fine Girls," actually just about one girl, and it suprisingly has some nice jazz incorporated. Good to hear Keith using a little jazz in his work! "The Girls Don't Like The Job" lives up to the hype as it is one of the standouts here, where Keith plays a high-rolling business man and even takes jabs at materialistic Americans! "Clifton" is a solid collab with Motion Man and some other cat, here named 'Noggin' Nodders from Oakland,' and has an longer-than-usual verse from Keith and he calls himself 'Keith Telavazquez,' the latest in Kool Keith monikers. "I Don't Play" falls just below classic, but is a boomin' way to top it all off. A very good song. The brightest standouts off this cd are: "Rockets On The Battlefield," "Livin' Astro," "I'm Seeing Robots, "Static," "Maxi Curls," and "Girls Don't Like The Job." Both the tracks, "Lost In Space," and "Black Elvis" are quite good in case you were wondering.

The few complaints I have deal mainly with the choruses and beats. The beats are mostly solid, some even excellent, but I guess don't match up with Automater or Kutmasta Kurt beats like we're used to hearing Keith rhyme over. That's fine though, Keith does them himself, and even a bad Kool Keith beat is a good one for most other artists. I think we tend to forget how priveledged Keith has been to work with top-notch producers in the past. Many of the beats do convey that 'spacey'-type feel. The choruses are mostly simple, but not a huge eyesore. The choruses range from annoying, to irrelevant, to conventional("Master Of The Game"). Skip the awkward ones though, Keith's specialty is awkward choruses. It would have been nice if he would have changed up the verse-chorus structure a little, but the album still comes out pretty fresh.
Overall, this Kool Keith album remains consistent and entertaining throughout, and is easily one of his most-accessible and lovable works. He doesn't even swear but like two minor curses, and the only strong cursing comes in "Clifton," but by Motion Man and another guy, not Keith. He even left out the perverted humor, and his songs dealing with women are actually done in a mature, sometimes even romantic way! I was unsure going into this album what I was going to get, based on the high reverence of his earlier albums, and I ended up rewarded! It's amazing how fresh Keith sounds even though his career started in the mid-80's with the Ultramagnetic MC's. Hell, Keith still sounds fresh on his latest albums. He never ages! If you have other Kool Keith albums, make sure you add this one, and if you are unfamiliar with Keith, this is THE recommended place to start..."
Hip-Hop in Space
eRgO | Washington, DC United States | 02/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Everyone loves space. We have movies, books, and tv shows that have been hugely successful as a result of their science fiction/space themes. So when a talented hip hop artist takes the discontent he feels toward the music industry and others and places it in a science fiction/futuristic setting, the results are highly enjoyable. I've heard that for this album Keith donned the "Elvis" personna for the obvious reason that the King was heavily influenced by and/or exploited black music, and for the not-so-obvious reason that Elvis is purported to not be dead but is lost in space. Wow.

For me, standouts include Lost in Space for its sultry backing vocals and catchy refrain; Livin' Astro is a great way to say "I'm a pimp" while adding a fresh take; Black Elvis and the upbeat Maxi Curls - two songs that I can listen to over and over again.

The only drawback for me is the lack of beats on this album. Intentional or not, this is not booty-shaking music, for the most part. There almost seems to be an underlying beat from song to song. Exceptions include the funny and funky Supergalactic Lover and the stellar Livin' Astro.

I think what helps the album feel so fresh is that it "pretends" to be in the future, while using old-style beats and effects. The sound is definitely unique, however, and will appeal to fans of Outkast or Eric B and Rakim alike. While it all sounds familiar, it also sounds alien. If that's what Keith was after, he accomplished his mission."
Master of the Game
Kathleen Acosta Ekins | Pasadena, CA | 09/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is my favorite Kool Keith album - I have most of his work now. There is enough diversity, funk, humor, clever rhymes and sheer sparkle to keep me coming back to Lost for repeat listens. I'm not hugely knowledgeable about rap, but for me this guy totally stands out, and in a way I'm really glad he hasn't made mainstream super-stardom, as this stuff is special and should only be introduced to select friends and people who appreciate his style.
I just love the production on this album too - awesome bass lines, interesting fx, great clarity and some very nice backing vocals.
Mechanical legs mechanical legs!
Thanks Keith!"