Kool Keith To Take His 'Black Elvis' Persona On Road

Rapper's 27-date tour, starting in Arizona, will promote upcoming album, Black Elvis/ Lost in Space.

After dropping off a bill that would have featured him alongside hard-rockers Coal Chamber and hip-hop act Insane Clown Posse, rapper Kool Keith has announced dates for a 27-date outing of his own.

According to Kool Keith, the tour, launching Aug. 19 in Mesa, Ariz., will feature the chameleon-like performer's Black Elvis persona.

Kool Keith, who recently launched his own hip-hop porn site, will be promoting his Black Elvis/ Lost in Space LP, due Aug. 24 from Columbia Records. The album finds the multi-monikered rapper (born Keith Thornton) presenting what he said may be his final character.

"I'm running with Elvis," he said recently. "I think Black Elvis is the highest level of my achievement right now."

After the Mesa, Ariz., show, the trek will move east before climbing up the coast and heading back toward Kool Keith's adopted hometown, Los Angeles. There, the eccentric MC will play a finale at the city's Key Club venue Sept. 26.

Kool Keith said he plans to sell Black Elvis wigs at the shows, so fans can have their own fun with the persona. Earlier this month, Kool Keith said he would bring along an unnamed "dependable white boy" as his new DJ, explaining that he'd fired his longtime DJ, Kut Masta Kurt, with whom he's collaborated since 1993, for trying to steal his thunder. However, a source said Kut Masta Kurt (born Kurt Matlin) is the man most likely to be behind the turntables on the trek.

Though the tour will focus on supporting the Black Elvis image, Kool Keith said he'll also perform songs from his earlier work.

"I'll probably go for some of my hits," he said. He added that he'll draw from his highly successful 1996 effort that portrayed him as the corrupt, sci-fi gynecologist Dr. Octagon, Dr. Octagonecologyst, as well as songs from his recent First Come First Served album. The latter CD — released under the pseudonym for his serial killer–cannibal character, Dr. Dooom — features the anthem, "Dr. Dooom's in the Room" (RealAudio excerpt).

Kool Keith first emerged in 1987 as a member of the pioneering New York rap group the Ultramagnetic MCs. He said he soon will reunite with the group to record a new album.

Kool Keith has acquired a well-documented reputation for canceling tours, most memorably when he disappeared shortly before he was scheduled to perform on the 1997 edition of Lollapalooza.

Kool Keith Tour Dates:

Aug. 19; Mesa, Ariz.; Nile Theater

Aug. 21; Austin, Texas; Steamboat

Aug. 22; Houston, Texas; Wax

Aug. 23; New Orleans, La.; House of Blues

Aug. 25; Tampa, Fla.; Masquerade

Aug. 27; Atlanta, Ga.; The Tabernacle

Aug. 30; Philadelphia, Pa.; Electric Factory

Aug. 31; Washington, D.C.; 9:30 Club

Sept. 1; New York, N.Y.; Wetlands

Sept. 2; Winooski, Vt.; Higher Ground

Sept. 3; Northampton, Mass.; Pearl Street

Sept. 5; Cleveland, Ohio; Peabody's

Sept. 8; Chicago, Ill.; the Metro

Sept. 9; Cincinnati, Ohio; Annie's

Sept. 10; Detroit, Mich.; St. Andrews Hall

Sept. 11; Milwaukee, Wis.; Modjeska

Sept. 12; Minneapolis, Minn.; First Avenue

Sept. 13; Lawrence, Kan.; Granada Theatre

Sept. 14; Boulder, Colo.; Fox Theatre

Sept. 15; Fort Collins, Colo.; Aggie Theatre

Sept. 17; Portland, Ore.; Station 315

Sept. 18; Seattle, Wash.; RKONDY

Sept. 20; Eugene, Ore.; Wild Duck

Sept. 21; Chico, Calif.; Brick Works

Sept. 22; Santa Cruz, Calif.; Palookaville

Sept. 23; San Francisco, Calif.; Maritime Hall

Sept. 26; Los Angeles, Calif., Key Club