Where better to start a focus on Halloween music, than with a track from everyone’s favorite costume wearing, non sequitur spitting, horror-obsessed MC, Kool Keith? A founding member of the seminal 80’s hip-hop crew the Ultramagnetic MC’s, Keith has become infamous for his use of horrific lyrics and his penchant for constantly reinventing himself with bizarre new personas over the years.
And although all of these personalities have their own unique traits, there is an undercurrent of horror imagery that runs throughout his many incarnations. Whether it’s the psychedelic sci-fi horror of Dr.Octagon or the grisly lifestyle of urban mass murderer Dr. Dooom, it’s clear that Keith has an affinity for the genre.
In 1999, he released his third solo album, First Come First Served under the alias Dr. Dooom which was commonly regarded as a backlash to the unwanted attention he received from the white, indie rock crowd after the release of his first album, 1996’s Dr. Octagonecologyst under the name Dr. Octagon.
There is a definite shift on this album away from tone and style from Octagon, which was a trippy, atmospheric work filled with dark, absurdist imagery and spaced-out scatalogical humor.
In contrast, First Come First Served was firmly grounded in gritty “reality” of the streets as typically depicted in 90’s gangsta rap, but with a twist. These were tales from the hood told from the point of view of Dr. Dooom, a trash talking “gangsta rapper” who also happened to be a cannibalistic serial killer who would not only murder, but also dismember and eat, anyone he had beef with. It is often interpreted as a satire of late 90’s hip-hop evidenced by Keith’s subversion of the standard gangsta rap structure including the album cover which parodies Pen & Pixel Graphics work for No Limit Records.
To anyone familiar with the song, one of the most memorable parts is the hook, which consists of Dooom shouting “Apartment 223” followed by a eerie sample of legendary genre actor Peter Lorre saying “I’m very hungry,” repeated three times. Though by no means a “pop” song, you’d be hard pressed to not find the simplistic chorus stuck in your head after a few listens..
The song ends with another sample of Lorre saying,
“You look surprised...
You do not see anything on the table? (Chairs
Squeak against floor) Well wait until I get the box....”
When you look back over his career, and his overall creative output, it’s easy to picture a young Kool Keith growing up in the Bronx taking in a steady diet of spooky records and monsters movies in addition to the real-life horrors of life on the street that were unfolding outside his window. It was the culmination of these elements that eventually led Keith to the creation of Dr. Dooom and in turn, the horrorcore classic, First Come, First Served.
For more info on Kool Keith, check out his official website: http://www.ultrakeith.net/