While You Were Sleeping# 18: Dr. Octagon

The self-titled Dr. Octagon album released earlier this year by

the Mo Wax label is perhaps the most innovative, fresh, weird, and disturbing

hip hop record of this decade. Ignored by industry bible The Source and

certainly by the record buying public, I guarantee this record will go down as

one of those nearly forgotten landmark records such as Sun Ra's Cosmic Tones

for Mental Therapy or Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask

Replica.

Legendary old school rapper Kool Keith, a.k.a. Dr. Octagon,

has been around for years as a member of the Ultra Magnetic MC's, the Bronx

crew responsible for dropping "Ego Trippin'" in the mid- 1980s. That song is

considered to be one of the top ten best hip hop singles of all time, according

to, ironically, The Source.

Kool Keith ain't no fake, he's no

privileged kid from the 'burbs spewing abstract shit, but a mad genius and an

unbelievably skilled lyricist throwing down weird rhymes about "space doo doo

pistols," "gas passing dinosaurs," and "sewing up buttcracks."

If you

aren't clued in by the strange futuristic imagery in the first song, "3000,"

then you'll know something is seriously wrong once the spoken-word message that

follows "3000" is over: "Hello this is the offices of Dr. Octagon. If you have

insurance or medical problems I'm here for you for any type of intestine

surgery, rectal rebuilding, relocated saliva glands, and chimpanzee acne...and

of course moosebumps, you can call 1-800 pee pee 51 doo doo." This record

contains what must be another landmark in hip hop history. It is the first

record to sample dialogue from Chris Elliot's sadly defunct and incredibly

stupid Fox "sitcom" Get A Life--from the episode about "the shark-

man."

Oh yeah, the production. Occasional DJ Shadow collaborator The

Automator provides freaky, cinematic soundscapes that give The RZA and Tricky a

run for their money. For those headz out there who just like the beats, Mo Wax

just released a version of Dr. Octagon sans vocals--called

Instrumentalyst. -- Kembrew McLeod