Dr. Octagon (Kool Keith) released the mind-blowing hip-hop album Dr. Octagonecologyst on May 7, 1996—happy 27thbirthday! I remember so very clearly first hearing that album—which featured Kool Keith and Dan the Automator—shortly after its release, and I didn't know exactly what was happening, but I knew I loved every second of it. It's been on heavy rotation for almost 3 decades now—it's hard to believe it's 27 years old, when it sounds like it could have dropped yesterday. The Ringer celebrated its 25 birthday with a terrific article providing a deep dive into Kool Keith's life and the album's history. Here's a sample:
And so we come here today to praise Dr. Octagonecologyst while also freeing Kool Keith from the monumental burden of being Dr. Octagon all the time. In the mid-'90s, the beyond-eccentric rapper—born Keith Matthew Thornton in the Bronx in 1963—was best known for his stint in the Golden Age crew Ultramagnetic MCs, whose 1988 debut, Critical Beatdown, is an all-timer ("Kool Keith Housing Things" is truth in song-titling) and whose full catalog deserves more respect than it gets. ("Light up your inner skull and burn up your rectum," Keith boasts on a late-period throwaway called "Talkin' Out Ya Ass,"which flaunts more raw personality than plenty of his opposition's failed hit singles. "MCs are doo-doo, I never did respect 'em.") But this guy was destined for different planets, different galaxies, different schools of musical and medical and sexual thought. And with some help from San Francisco producer Dan the Automator, whose taste for eerie whimsy would soon light up records by the likes of Gorillaz and Handsome Boy Modeling School, Keith kicked off one of the wildest solo careers in rap history by reinventing himself as a sex-crazed, homicidal, space-age experimental surgeon named, yes, Dr. Octagon. So many rectums to burn up, so little time.
Go read the rest here, and please, I beg you, take some time to listen to Dr. Octagonecologyst today!