Kool Keith Fights the Ordinary (Tag Team) [Interview]
Vancouver, B.C. – If there’s one thing Kool Keith is not, it’s conservative. From his music to his videos to his new lingerie line, the man actively rails against the ordinary. HipHopCanada’s gruesome twosome teamed up to talk to Kool Keith about…well, mostly about sex, to be perfectly honest. But in the process we garnered some real gems about the congruence between his production and his lyricism, his disdain for the grandma style (which he assures us we aren’t victim to) and of course the inspiration for his offbeat videos. Check it out after the jump.
HipHopCanada: You’re on the Border Patrol tour, and you actually didn’t make it over the border the last time you were due here. How was your border crossing experience this time around?
Kool Keith: They made me sit. They went and got some papers out and dug up a bunch of stuff from the past. The woman was like, “I’m not gonna let you in tonight.” I was like, “Oh my God.”
HipHopCanada: Well luckily you made it…so let’s start out with the new album, Love and Danger. What can we expect?
Kool Keith: Love And Danger is a smooth album, kinda rugged. It’s about me on a mature level, just a whole innovative album with Junkaz Lou producing. I picked a lot of subjects on this record, about girls, myself, what I’m going through as opposed to me just rapping.
HipHopCanada: On the production side, what’s the difference between rapping on your own beats as opposed to someone else’s?
Kool Keith: I open up more lyrically about subjects which are more bizarre, and just get straight to the point more on my own stuff, whereas on other peoples’ production what I’m saying don’t really match what I’m doing. When I produce, the music matches what I’m doing, the music matches the lyrics. With a producer I have to conform a little bit to their style. But with myself I have an open lane. I think when people hear my own stuff they get the raw stuff.
HipHopCanada: We heard you have a porn lingerie line…
Kool Keith: I wanted to take lingerie to another level, I just get tired of the outfits that I see in entertainment and the clubs, videos, stuff like that. I think we can have a little better stuff now, take it to another level.
HipHopCanada: Not to mention your search for new porn talent…what gives a girl the inside track on catching your eye?
Kool Keith: Getting your hair done – maintenance basically, a lot of it’s hair and makeup. I wanna see a beautiful hairstyle. And I think everybody’s a little over conservative. Not you guys, [tag team breathes sigh of relief] but I’m saying fashion the last few years has been a lot of grandma prints. If you look in stores, that’s what you see. I was thinking that someone had to stop that move for a minute. I just thought that we were going through a wave of the older clothing. Everything looked like a tablecloth. I got tired of that grandma print.
HipHopCanada: So do you try to bring that idea into a lot of the visuals that surround your music?
Kool Keith: I hand pick the girls for the videos, I’m always choosing the outfits and stuff, the colors in my videos. “Las Vegas,” “New York,” I did all the designing for those videos.
HipHopCanada: We saw a pretty racy video called “Put on this Track” with Eljay…
Kool Keith: I produced the song. It was a pretty different record for her, she’s from Amsterdam. A totally different artist than anyone I’ve worked with, we took it to an S&M type of thing, totally dark. One of the most different tracks ever. I took a girl from Europe that has a different character and just ran with that. I’m into the sexual stuff.
HipHopCanada: That track tells listeners to “Put on this track while you having sex…” which leads us to wonder what you like to listen to when you’re getting dirty.
Kool Keith: I listen to R Kelly, all types of slow jams: Donelle Jones, Jodeci…I make my own slow jams. I think that that track we made was a slow jam for ourselves. Not slow, but a jam…
HipHopCanada: As far as your own sex styles, what can a woman expect when she’s making the late night creep?
Kool Keith: Outfits, lingerie, pictures – I’m very exotic most of the time. I like to be visually stimulated. I think a lot of women are too conservative. For me, my videos and my music is fighting against the conservative.
HipHopCanada: In the past you’ve been kind of open about calling out rappers who bite your style. How you feeling about that with this new generation of MCs?
Kool Keith: A lot of people do use my style, I take it as a compliment. There’s nothing you can do about it. I feel honored. I listen to everybody. I have a real broad demographic. Young rappers, you got all types coming up – I be honored at the way that we paved. There’s so many.
HipHopCanada: Well thanks a lot, we appreciate you speaking with us.
Kool Keith: Thanks!
Interview conducted by Amalia Judith andKassandra Guagliardi for HipHopCanada.
Photography by Joshua J. for HipHopCanada.