In 1996 the collaborative effort between Kool Keith, Dan The Automator and DJ Q-Bert resulted in the unconventional but widely regarded cult classic, Dr Octagonecologyst – A tale of an extra-terrestrial time traveling gynecologist and surgeon from the planet Jupiter. Most certainly unlike anything that has ever come before it, there was however a follow up 10 years later in 2006 titled The Return Of Dr. Octagon but with the lack of Dan The Automator production and the contractual problems leading to Kool Keith not having a lot of impact on the final product most fans ignore its position in Dr. Octagon canon.
Fast forward to 2018 and the band is back together again with their new album titled Moosebumps: An Exploration Into Modern Day Horripilation. The first single “Octagon, Octagon” got even the most skeptical of Keith fans’ mouths watering. Production wise it picks up right where the debut album left off. The boom bap drums accompanied by Automator’s spaced out sound selection give off the vibe of the main title scene from a sci-fi horror movie. As for Kool Keith, well he sounds refreshed and more focused than he has in a long time. You can hear the direction in his voice, it sounds like he knows exactly where Dr. Octagon is going.
If the single “Area 54” is anything to go by then this album is going to be one to listen to from start to finish. In an age of YouTube wonders and SoundCloud singles, the three members of Dr. Octagon have crafted a full-length multi-track work of art. They aren’t trying to be the next anything except a better version of their last outing. With some familiar samples sprinkled over the neck snapping breakbeat, they have managed to make this actually sound like a sequel album, not just an album that has a sequel for the title.
The first official video released from the record is “Flying Waterbed” – a visual ode to martial arts cinema and exploitation film. An infectious 2 bar horn sample that is manipulated into somewhat of a hypnotic soundtrack for Keith to space surf around vocally. Verse wise it is best to not ask questions; let’s just say that the record is anything but predictable. It’s not the type of lyricism that warrants critique, as no one except Keith really knows what the end game is here. Interpol singer Paul Banks lends his voice to the single for a trippy and psychedelic hook which comforts the rest of the song rather than overshadowing it like a lot of hip-hop singles that feature singers seem to do.
All in all this album sounds like a very warm welcome back to concept albums and dare we say it… the DJ. DJ Q-Bert’s contributions to the recordings at times expose what a lot of rappers have been leaving out. Welcome back Doc, you have been missed.