Kool Keith Talks Beat Digging
Thursday March 13th 2008,
Filed under: Bronx Bombers,Classic Ignorance,Not Your Average
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This is classic Keith:

If you look at a lot of the music industry, they got rid of a lot of the bands that make rough-edge stuff. It’s like Slade, they used to play mean bass lines. They got rid of the keys that don’t match and the tough bass lines. They more or less sweetened up the music, made it light. People don’t mess with the left-hand side of the keyboard. And what it is, a lot of people say in more like suburban areas, they don’t want to hear you. They more or less scared and intimidated, so they want to hear something less intimidating. That’s really all your spirit around you when you make those records that sound hard and crazy ’cause that’s like what you’re coming from, your whole background of the Bronx – you know, the pissy streets and Hunt’s Point Market, the trucks and the delivery and the fish on the street, the stench – and the beats are just matching. I honestly like to rap on hard shit myself. That’s why, to this day, I like EPMD, people that stuck to their sound. We don’t got that no more. I think sampling is one thing that really took a lot of that out. You’ve got your Ron Carters and your greatest jazz records to collect and sample off of, but when you listen to the loops a lot of them are really sweet, there’s but so much you can do with them. But when you actually get on keyboards and make Frankenstein funky shit and it’s just made with no teachings – it’s not somebody going [he imitates the music scale] “A-B-C-D” – I think a lot of up-and-coming producers live by notes; they have a lot of sweet notes. I never was a fan of sweet loops. Ninety-nine percent I’m never rapping on top of a sweet loop. I would never rap on sweet loops, but I’ve been remixed on sweet loops because people had this thing of, “Hey, we could put Kool Keith on Bugs Bunny,” and “We got a Woody Woodpecker sample that I think he will sound great on – it’s hot!” People feel like that’s great, they get their dicks hard with that. They’ll put me on top of a Sesame Street loop, but that’s their fantasy. They just feel like this is something to laugh at. I think it’s corny. I really think it’s corny to walk around the city and buy a bunch of records and come home with a Fisher Price record and listen to each little sample like, wow. It’s like you’re taking somebody’s shit. I’d rather listen to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, or Prince. At least they’re doing something original. To me, sampling is gone. Two things that are played out for the critics: skits are played out, I think skits are gone, shove them up your ass; samples of Donald Duck and all types of records are gone, and sweet loops is done. Let’s get back to some hard stuff. Also, I don’t really dig the scattered producer thing. I think it sucks. I think your albums sounds like 10 people did it and it doesn’t even match your whole circular of what you’re about. I feel it’s just a hold up. I like making original records myself. That’s what I’m going to continue to do. People can’t really make original stuff. At least when I go down to my fucking grave, people will say, “That guy did his own shit.” I don’t wanna die and motherfuckers say, “That nigga bit, he followed, he copied everybody; open his casket, look at all the people he robbed. He sampled every-fucking-body in the world.” I don’t even go back that far in time; I’m so far in the future I do not want to go into a dirty store and get my hands dirty with dirty records. Pick up old records with dust on them and get ’em on my hands. I want new dirt on my hands. It’s just a turn-off, a big turn-off. I hate vinyl. I hate vinyl with a fucking passion.

Taken from this interview.

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31 Comments so far
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“That guy did his own shit.” – Nobody is going to argue with that. Kinda interesting to hear about someone in rap who isn’t pro-vinyl. Good post

Comment by Liam 03.13.08 @

I was a fan of Keith,even the “Masters of Illusion”, is classic shit…..But after that, all of his beats sound ass…..The new Ultra Mag shit is laughable at best….And I’m just talking about the production side of things…{Ced Gee rhymes on the new album are sad as well} We want to hear Keith over that grimy shit again….Even tha Automater’s beats sounded better than the new stuff… Where’s Kut Master Kurt? Prince Paul? Pre identity crisis Ced Gee? Keith dissin vinyl would make sense if the new shit was miles ahead of the older material, but it’s not….Not even close….

Comment by shamz 03.13.08 @

That’s a great interview. I took a hiatus from Hip-Hop from maybe 97-98. I missed a lot of what Keith did in between then and now. Where should I start to get back up to date? Last record I bought by him was Sex Style and a Sir Menlick 12″.

Comment by haroon 03.13.08 @

this part of the interview is also very quotable:

“It’s time for African rappers to jump on. Now let’s get with the African thing. We did the snap. We did the low-riders, bouncing the 6-4s. We did New York with the dogs in front of the building. How about African rappers walking around with hyenas now? Let the African stuff jump off. How about the rebels and everybody rapping? Dude’s rapping with the big banana peelings all around their body and rapping: “Gooka ga-mooka ma-mooka mooka ga-booka gaboo.” Let’s let that jump off. Let’s move on, that’s all. That’s all this is, time for everybody to get your turn. “

Comment by spotrusherz 03.14.08 @

Keith´s always got the dope rhymes, but he just got a horrible beat choice. That´s why I was happy with that Sex Style Lost Archives album. It was mad refreshing to hear him spit over a decent backdrop. Btw he should do another album with Don. 1

Comment by The Funkologist 03.14.08 @

Kool Keith is a genius, but like another genius, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Keith needs collaborators to bring out the demons and angels from his physical form. I would love to hear Raekwon and Kool Keith spit fire together. But like another genius, KRS One, Keith is probably too egotistical (ego trippin) to team up with an equal. So the fans are left with half a loaf of hip hop…

Comment by SaikoBen 03.14.08 @

If there was any MC I could handle hearing say “Fuck vinyl” it would be Keith. Sure his production is pretty lame now, but it’s kinda like he’s been there and done that already. “Critical Beatdown” will still be a masterpiece of sampling 20 years from now. Sure it’d be great if he did another record with Don and yes, it really seems like he’s not even trying on his recent stuff. It’s like he’s thinking, “You want weird shit? I got weird shit that’s so weird it’s not even good anymore.” I mean, you can’t really even attempt to explain dudes logic, but I think to him, the joke is on us.

Comment by Eons 03.14.08 @

at the end of the day, it’s not how you make it… but what it sounds like. people must realize by now that keith is a contrarian and a devil’s advocate. he’s just calling people out for their herd instinct.

Comment by eric 03.14.08 @

By the way, I think that should read “Slave” not “Slade.”

Comment by haroon 03.15.08 @

what the hell is keith talking about? and why are people really paying attention?…..his whole career is based off sampling vinyl….u kiddies follow this dude around like the pied piper when he tries as hard as he can not to make sense.

Comment by mercilesz 03.15.08 @

great interview.
keith is king when it comes
to shit talkin.very funny.

Comment by swordfish 03.16.08 @

Mercilesz, everything Kool Keith said in that quote made sense to me and I understood it clearly personally. I just simply didn’t agree with some of the views, such as his hatred against vinyl.

Comment by Kevin 03.16.08 @

I think vinyl is the sound forever, but I like Keith because he’s still what all rap used to be: Anti-pop, back when rap didn’t want to be associated with R&B, it was rather like a violent reaction to its monotonous romanticism. Like saying yeah my girl is cool and I love her and all that but fuck shit is fucked up man I gotta tell you something else right now and I can’t sing it and cute it up. On an Ultra live recording from the Funk Ya Head Up era between songs Keith says it best himself: “I’m Anti-Happy.” And I salute him because I need that. I think Keith made this same argument wayback on the last verse of Housin’ Thangs:

I think it’s pitiful, that you had taunted me
Your girl sulkin, she wanted me first
before you was thought about
Back in the days, when I taught about
science, the real construction
No other solo team or production
did that, or got with that
I play brain ball usin a bat
to your skull, smack it out the park
I rhyme bright, and you’re in the dark
with shadows, hallucinating battles
To compel, the capital K, as in Kool
Combined in Keith
Rap metal is terminal chief
and joy, squashin the beef
on time. and my mic will stay on
For any roach or germ who wanna pray on
a weakness, but my uniqueness
has a way to show that I’m slicker
Creating rhymes, you have to be, quicker
and versatile on the microphone
I’m Kool Keith, cold Housing Things

Comment by Jeff my name is jeff 03.16.08 @

well kevin if u understood that….good 4 u. the dude was trying not to make sense though to be funny…..ummmm his whole career is based off of other peoples records….thats a fact.

Comment by mercilesz 03.16.08 @

But mercilesz, in actuality his whole career is really based off other people’s music not vinyls. I say that because vinyls are like mp3’s, audio cassettes, CD’s etc, which are simply just devices used to record music. So someone saying “I hate vinyl” isn’t the same thing as saying “I hate the music”, it just means they hate the device that music comes in. Because hell there are people out there that by music on CD’s because they hate vinyl’s.

Comment by Kevin 03.17.08 @

Music has been based off of other music since the beginning of time. All concepts are built off of other concepts. Everything in this world is derivative of something else.

Comment by haroon 03.17.08 @

so kevin…the records they used on beatdown….funk ur head up…4 horsemen…i want u to find them on cd…matter of fact i want u to find the ease back single poppa large single or even 2 brothers with checks single on cd….good luck cuz they don’t exist. neither do any of the breaks they used when they made those records…there were no mp3’s then….there hardly any rap videos when beatdown came out.dude is being silly and u r just defending him cuz ur a fan

Comment by mercilesz 03.17.08 @

Mercilesz, I’m NOT defending him simply because I’m a fan and like you think I am, all I simply said was I UNDERSTOOD what he was saying in regards him not liking vinyl but I myself just don’t agree because as for me, I love vinyl and I hope vinyl never goes away.

And regards to that other point I made about, not liking vinyl but still liking the music and how it relates to Kool Keith view about vinyl, it’s because for example, I know plenty of people, and they don’t even know who Kool Keith is, but still have the same views. Hence, they love old skool music they just hate the playing them in vinyls because they are too used to be spoiled by the CD’s & mp3’s.

Therfore this is why the old music they cannot buy on CD’s or mp3’s they simply buy the vinyls or get somebody that has them on vinyl and convert them onto CD’s & mp3’s.

Comment by Kevin 03.18.08 @

Kool Keith talking about things that are played out. He should fucking know, he’s been played out for a dozen years at least.

Comment by Drew Huge 03.18.08 @

Kool Keith is wild! I think if it makes some of u uncomfortable, that makes him March’s MC of the month!

Comment by chronwell 03.18.08 @

If you never been in the studio nor in a club with Keith, you wouldn’t understand his mental!! He has self hatred against his own audience, the “keep it real” crowd. He makes left records that attracts more of an underground black audience and a left field white boy crowd, but he prefers to frequent black commercial R&B clubs to pull black girls. The problem is that the black girls don’t really know who he is, so he gets frustrated and takes it out on those who want to “keep it real” and “represent”. You know the B-boys into scratching, collecting the obscurest breaks with the distinct snares. The white boy who walks around with the Main Source “Breaking Atoms” t-shirt, the black kid with the afro who listens to the roots and common. He prefers a southern sound like LiL John that gets the girls to get low on the dance floor, but don’t let him fool you, he knows his breaks!! He is the one who brought Ced-Gee the “Joe Cocker” 7 inch of “woman to woman” that Ultra sampled for “funky”. He’s just a bugged out guy!

Comment by Marc Davis 03.18.08 @

somehow i think in this day and age all of us older hip hop fans suffer from that same identity crisis.

Comment by mercilesz 03.18.08 @

Wow, Kool Keith in talking a lot of shit that makes no sense shocker.

Comment by Marc Oz 03.19.08 @

Kool Keith is one of the funniest people in hip hop. If you want to hear a newer album of Keith over rough production, check out Project Polaroid, Tom C’s beats on that are incredible! I’ve heard snippets of the new Dr. Dooom 2 album and it sounds incredible. Kool Keith is the best.

Comment by Mike G 03.21.08 @

you call yourself a kool keith fan but didn’t buy dr. nogatco or project polaroid? stupid fools…

Comment by god 03.24.08 @

yo mercilesz i have seen you diss Kool Kieth on numerous unkut posts, what’s ure beef with this guy? why do u hate on him so much?

Comment by wtf 03.25.08 @

I gotta cosign on project polaroid, shit’s nice.

Comment by Connie Clendenin 03.25.08 @

lol….i love kool keith….i have more ultra than most of u do on wax…i have so intelligent 12″….i have space cadillac 12″….i have dr octagon on wax yes wax…i hate kool keith fans because most of em don’t know anything about hip hop and take everything that he says out of context and as the word of god…but most of em cant even recite the second verse of funky or ego trippin…they’re not hip hop fans and therefore will never understand ultramags contribution to this art. most kool keith fans now are nerds who don’t know anything about hip hop…word up…u can quote that.

Comment by mercilesz 03.25.08 @

Interesting comments from someone whose best records are basically (musically) all breaks & loops. “Sex Style” was the beginning of the end. That trucker shit is one of the worst albums of all time.
Dude’s a clown. If he was making some good–even decent–music maybe there would be some weight behind his bullshit statements. Any true music lover will concede the superiority of vinyl over cds/mp3s. What a dipshit.

Comment by Truth 03.25.08 @

keith is jokes, and yeah, project polaroid was my last favorite keith album, tomc3 was a beast on those beats, the beats on nogatco sounded like a space circus, bottom line it wasn’t very good, sounds to me like keith is shitting on fools like madlib, and anyone else who samples shit out the ass, plus, hes always been that way saying that djs and producers ain’t shit, and that original piano loops and synth sounds are where its at, i read an interview where he said that diesel truckers was kutmasta kurts shit and he wasn’t really with it, he just likes to be bigger than everyone else, its just his steez, personally i think its great when he pisses on the rap game, its very entertaining

Comment by gstatty 03.31.08 @

i hear you man, after Dr Octagon he def got a lot of backpack fans.

Comment by wtf 04.01.08 @

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