Published Sep 16, 2016New York hip-hop luminary Kool Keith enlisted a dozen underground mainstays to show "cheesecake rappers" how the old school gets busy on his latest offering, Feature Magnetic. Unfortunately, Keith is treated to some friendly fire here, as most of his cohorts outshine him.
Those who've followed the man of many aliases may be relieved to hear his patented surreal boasts, namedrops and internal rhymes throughout the 13-track LP, but after a discography several dozen albums deep, one can't help but deem the novelty long expired. That Craig G, Mac Mall and MF Doom — the zany Abel to Keith's Cain — handily out-rhyme the Bronx native does Feature Magnetic's mission no favours whatsoever. The album's sound, for which Keith himself is largely responsible, is streamlined by rumbling bass lines, synths and unrelenting cymbals, elements he can ride even in a vegetative state.
In his rare spurts of sincerity, namely on the self-explanatory "Peer Pressure" and anti-hater cut "Tired," Keith's battle-worn, otherworldly persona fittingly refuses to loosen its grip, as the MC spits on the latter: "I'm tired of people, adults who wear Huggies, who love to talk about me bad and bug me / Knowing I'm up there with Kanye and Kid Cudi."
Still, the former Ultramagnetic MCs frontman is far from peak form here, as his bars often take a back seat to those of his fellow vets, former collaborator Godfather Don especially. The proceedings reach a cartoonish low on the raunchy "Girl Grab," with Necro spouting lazily written filth in an effort to match Keith's horny outlandishness.
Feature Magnetic is worth a listen, but mostly when Keith cedes the floor to his partners in rhyme. (Mello Music Group)