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REVIEW: Kool Keith – Sex Style

Bisexuals on stage eating fruit loops

I’m torn with Sex Style, as I’m not sure if Keith’s trying to parody the overly-sexualised 90’s hip-hop scene, or if he’s just extremely horny.

Regardless, Sex Style is anything but the two seminal Keith projects that sandwich it, distancing itself in lyricism, production and vulgarity as Koolie slams passed prior abstraction for a hardcore lesson in pornocore. It sees Keith at his mid-late 90’s peak in wordplay, with the signature unbelievability, hilarity and cleverness employed now to describe, in vivid detail, his sexual adventures and desires. KutMaster Kurt really captures the whack and grungy side of the 1990’s East Coast boom-bap sound, just as dirty as the imagery that Keith paints.

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By no means intelligent by way of lyrical content, it’s Keith’s slick flow and dynamic delivery that makes his link to the underground abstract hip-hop scene more than obvious, bouncing between butt-licking, beastiality and, on the other hand, disses of whack MC’s. His diss game is simply second to none with tracks like “Keep It Real…Represent” seeing the perversion used as ammunition against fake macho rappers:

“Yeah, rappers, spread your cheeks

Pull your panties down

Take your wig off, let me see your bald head

That’s right, I got you on Kodak”

Extended metaphor galore and characteristically dense internal rhymes combine with execution ranging from energetic mid-range flows, Danny Brown-esque nasal tones and speedy, sarcastically articulated timbres to give the disgusting lyrics almost undeservedly stellar treatment.   

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The perverse atmosphere Keith forces with his lyrics is carried impressively by KutMaster Kurt who nails the grimy, sexual sonics with his grubby, yet funky, boom-bap. It’s fairly minimalistic and sample heavy with sounds that make you go “yuck” (“Regular Girl”), which is exactly why it’s so suited. Keith’s own cuts make appearances throughout the record but don’t quite reach the sooty palette constructed by Kurt, and unfortunately births “Make Up Your Mind” which reeks of uninspired oppressiveness and “my first rap beat” distaste. Overall, the production is what really makes Sex Style so sexual and effective as an over-the-top concept, with the hyper-XXX skits furthering the belief that it shouldn’t be played where others could hear.

It may be too much of a good thing, somewhat like a joke that just keeps on going and is no longer funny, but Sex Style, in its intensely sexual presentation, always has something to laugh or screw your nose up at. There are no doubts that it’s misogynistic, transphobic and homophobic, but I feel Keith’s sarcastic delivery begs a reaction more so than it aims to offend. Honestly, Sex Style has to be listened to to fully comprehend. It’s disgusting and gross, and funnily enough exactly what I feel Keith always wanted to make, an uncompromising concept rap album about pumping butt.     

7.5/10

Ry

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