Kool Keith - Spankmaster

15/05/2020

"Ima Tell You" Unusual off key piano, super high to the sky pitched Keith Chorus and dissing wack MC's suggesting what their sexual preferences may perhaps be, and so it begins! Spank master! I have a feeling my opinions on this album within the Kool Keith community, may be controversial...read on..

"Drugs" has arguably one of the greatest Keith hooks across all of his projects. I'm always unsure how intentionally funny he knows some of these legendary hooks are. The simplistic production with piano being struck, and big fat bass actually blend together in a wonderful twisted unison, to create a crack den of a beat, a fitting sound for Keith's subject matter here "When I gave away my VHS and sold a pair of my socks / The IRS callin me, gettin on my nerve, I was warned by Redd Foxx / My girl, "Keith you seen my diamond rings in the jewelry box?" / I don't know; last night you and Chaka Khan was in here sniffin blow"

"Maxin In The Shade" one of my favourite joints on here, drags the listener to the sewers with its ugly stabs and samples. A truly dark concoction of a track, that has Keith once more targeting verbally, one of the poor women he's crossed paths with. "you're movin like you're pregnant this month / With your +Belly+ stickin out like movie and soundtrack / You dress up with diamonds just to eat / Don't even finish your plate complete When the bill come, you try to act like you can't see the receipt"

"Big Frank" has the same type of ominous production behind it that "Maxin In The Shade" comes with. Even though the production by Keith and L Seven doesn't carry with it the thick drums of Kutmasta Kurt, this tracks creeping and swirling sounds would not be amiss on a Dr Dooom track. "Jealous" another example of how the stripped down production serves the song. The sporadic sounds and horns give Keith plenty of room to verbally abuse radio Dj's and jealous music industry types. Always a great listen hearing Keith go nuts on his ever present haters.

When listening to "Girls In Jail" it becomes evident to me, that this album is truly to be listened to as just that, an album. In one complete start to finish listen. The production can feel a little light in parts, but as a complete project Spankmaster is a piece of Hip-Hop art buried deep within Keith's catalogue.

Keith on this album is enjoying himself, from the hooks to the subject matter. It's very clear when listening. The unsettling nature of a lot of the songs, with a tinge of strangeness make this album genuinely unique in Kool Keith lore. It's not always easy listening, perhaps some more seasoning on a couple of beats would have propelled this further, but 20 years on, Spankmaster has held it's own in my opinion.

The title of the album suggests Sex Style. When it's actually closer to Dr Dooom. One of the finishing tracks "Darth Vader" is the tipping point for me, to take the leap and give this album a mighty four mics.

The beats take second place to Keith's performance I will concede, but Keith is in such a zone on this project, he may not have even needed any production at all.


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