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Arizona Porn Star Ball feat. Kool Keith at 910 Live, 3/4/2012

Kool Keith and his crew at last night's Arizona Porn Star Ball
Kool Keith and his crew at last night's Arizona Porn Star Ball
Benjamin Leatherman

The second night of the two-day Arizona Porn Star Ball on Sunday evening had all the makings of a pimp hip-hop show: Strippers, half-naked freaks, adult film starlets, loads of talent, and a performance by one of the best rappers in the country in Kool Keith.

All it needed was a huge audience in attendance to add some extra sizzle to the steak. Sadly, however, 910 Live was mostly deserted last night when the bizarre Bronx-born hip-hop superstar hit the outdoor stage after midnight. It begs the question: What if you threw a killer hip-hop show and no one came?

A stripper performs inside 910 Live during Kool Keith's set.
A stripper performs inside 910 Live during Kool Keith's set.

People must've expended all their energy (not to mention cash) during the first night of the Porn Star Ball on Saturday, which featured Dirt Nasty and a crowded club watching stripper cage fights and topless dancers galore. Too bad they didn't pace themselves, as Kool Keith spinning a lyrical web that's absolutely peculiar, completely filthy, and utterly captivating is something you normally wanna miss.

Around three dozen populated the club (which has room for up to 1,200), a fact that didn't seem to phase the rapper in the slightest. Whereas opening acts like Gentlemen Ether and The Beatnuts kept their shit to around 20 minutes or less, Kool Keith kept up cyphers for more than an hour, moving between songs from many of the numerously bizarre aliases he's adopted over his 28-year career.

The NYC MC switched between identities like jackets like mad, moving from material from his early group Ultramagnetic MCs into tracks from his days as the perverted sex fiend of 1996's brilliant Dr. Octagon to the section-eight-dwelling cannibal Dr. Dooom from 1999's First Come, First Served. He also busted out with material from one of his most popular personas Black Elvis. (By the way, if you've ever wonder where Odd Future got their weirdo rap schtick, it probably was inspired to some degree by Kool Keith)

When the Porn Star Ball's promoters booked Keith for the show, they probably couldn't have picked a more fitting headliner. He not only crafts lyrics that are some of the foulest ever ("Pull out your colon/Leave your glands swollen, uncircumcised, between your mom's thighs/That's right, with a face like Michael Myers/I clip the ears off your bodyguards with some bloody pliers"), but are laced with rhymes about sex, porn, and the female anatomy.

So it shouldn't come as any surprise that the dude's a big fan of skin flicks. He boasts more than 300 titles in his personal collection

 

Kool Keith (left) gets funky with the mic as a local stripper gets funky with a penis-shaped lollipop.
Kool Keith (left) gets funky with the mic as a local stripper gets funky with a penis-shaped lollipop.
Benjamin Leatherman

I had a chance to speak with Keith about his porn proclivities a day or two before his appearance at 910 Live, and the conversation was just as strange, disjointed, and colorful as one of his songs.

"It's a different form of entertainment for me. I don't watch much TV, so I watch porn," Keith stated. "It's like collecting records. Like you find different artists when you dig in the crates. Like I got everybody's stuff from like the earliest up until the latest. Stuff all the way up to Rocco Siffredi and Evil Empire. Lexington Steele, Mr. Marcus, I got it all. All the way up to Jada Stevens and Christina Rose."

Keith boasts more than 300 titles in his personal collection. He goes looking for porn every other day ("I look for the classic stuff, hard to find releases") and compares his hunts to a DJ crate-digging for swank vinyl. Besides fulfilling, uh...other needs, sex flicks are admittedly a "heavy influence" on the weirdness of his music, which has been dubbed "pornocore" by some.

"I get a lot of ideas from movies, I use a lot of the skits for inspiration, and get samples and stuff. To me, it's a part of my music," he says. "I feel cool about it. It's like I don't wanna be stuck conforming. I think everyone has a conformed subject they're stuck in. They only want to speak what everybody's comfortable with. I wanna say stuff that people don't normally want to hear. I get an adrenaline rush off of that. Like, I don't get high so that's my high, making an exotic record. That's the equivalent of someone going to buy cocaine or going to smoke crack in their bedroom, to make a record that's wild."

Ask him for his favorite kind of videos and you get a 15-minute soliloquy on his love of the works of Euro porn producers like Marc Dorcell ("I like the classic Paris flavor and style. They'll be in a Rolls Royce with the stilettos and garters. That's an elegant package) or actress who are dressed up when doing the nasty ("I like a lot of clothing ones that have outfits, or the 'at work' ones with a secretary in a nice dress bent over a desk.")

Or he'll discuss his abhorrence of amateur stuff ("I don't care too much for the ones that are just ghetto with the bare feet and no budget for shoes and clothes") and his dislike for "hair girl stuff shot in Portland."

Songs filled with salaciousness made up the bulk of Kool Keith's set, particularly material from 2001's Spankmaster, including "Drugs," "Sex Style," and the titular track from the album. Meanwhile, a couple of the strippers performing at the ball joined him onstage to gyrate along with his jams, one of which was wielding an eight-inch-long penis lollipop. Said accessory got some major action when the rapper spent seven minutes singing about how he works the g-spot.

Its proof positive that Kool Keith is arguably still one the raunchiest dudes in rap game, even after nearly three decades in the game.

Partial Set List (Broken Down by Alias)

Ultramagnetic MCs
"Ease Back"
"Ego Trippin"
"Two Brothers with Checks"
"Blast From the Past"

Dr. Octagon
"Blue Flowers"
"Girl Let Me Touch You There"

Dr. Dooom
"The Countdown"
"I Followed You"
"The God of Rap"
"Do Not Disturb"
"Take That Ride"
"Always Talkin Out Your Ass"
"How Sexy"

Black Elvis
"Livin' Astro"
"Maxi Curls"

Kool Keith
"Freaks"
"Spankmaster (Take Off Your Clothes)"
"G-Spot"
"Sex Style"
"East West Hustlers"
"I Drop Money"
"Drugs"
"White Label Test Press"

Critics Notebook:

Last Night: Arizona Porn Star Ball feat. Kool Keith, The Beatnuts, and Gentlemen Ether at 910 Live

Better Than: Sitting at home spanking it to Spankmaster

The Crowd: Hip-hop fans, a handful of strippers, and plenty of hot messes.

Overheard: "If you wanna see my titties, all you gotta buy me two drinks."

Spotted in the Audience: Al Page of The Shop and DJ Element from lunt Club.

One More Thing: One of Kool Keith's favorite scenes is an, uh...encounter between Wesley Pipes and Tiffany Taylor from the video Super Anal Black Cougars (available at finder adult emporiums everywhere) "It's hot and it's a great scene," he says.

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910 Live

910 N. McClintock Drive
Tempe, AZ 85281

480-966-0707

www.910liveaz.com


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