Dr. Octagon is an acquired taste.
Members of the older generation either acquired that taste in 1996 with the release of Dr. Octagonecologyst, or they didn’t. For those already well versed in the time-traveling surgeon and gyno from Jupiter this newest installment does not disappoint. For those new to the Doctor, a few words of preface are necessary.
About a minute in to the album’s opening track, the aptly named ‘Octagon Octagon,’ the average, normie listener would likely ask, ‘Who is this fucking guy and why is he talking so much about octagons?” The subject matter is strongly NSFW and the production style is not the clean, classically-mixed banger favored by modern pop and rap. This album is likely best appreciated by an ambitious listener on the dolo.
Dr. Octagon is one of many aliases created by rapper Keith Matthew Thonton, better known as Kool Keith. He belongs to a strange area of underground, West Coast rap culture circa the late 90’s and mid 2000’s. Keith’s peers in this scene never achieved mainstream success but are often credited among the most influential to later evolutions of the genre. Rap collectives like The Coup, Freestyle Fellowship, and Hieroglyphics fall into this category. Del the Funky Homosapien, as his own extraterrestrial character Deltron3030, even has a cameo on track nine ‘3030 Meets the Doc – pt. 1.’
Throw in some east coast horrorcore and you’re entering the world of Dr. Octagon. Keith himself, however, due to his wild imagination and torrid subject matter, has been relegated by time to a novelty role in his scene, albeit having garnered a passionate cult following.
‘Moosebumps: An Exploration Into Modern Day Horripilation,’ has all the mainstays of a Dr. Octagon album: An obsession with nether regions, coprophagia, dinosaurs, vivid sexual imagery and DJ Qbert scratches the shit out of a turntable — channeled through Keith’s strange mind to paint the William Burroughs nightmare that is the world of Dr. Octagon. Patients are had sex with. Patients die. Monsters walk the earth. Dr. Octagon has a flying waterbed that makes asses shake.
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The album is the first to reunite Keith with producer Dan the Automator and DJ Qbert since the original Octagon album more than two decades ago. Despite multiple attempts to kill off the character, it is the second Octagon release fully endorsed by Keith. ‘Dr. Octagon part II’ (2003) was a bootleg and ‘The Return of Doctor Octagon’ (2006) is not considered canonical.
Automator and Keith do not reinvent the wheel on this one. They’ve pulled an old formula off the shelves from the back of the lab. It is a worthy sequel, albeit at times suffering from the self-referential cliches of a reboot. Old fans will enjoy it, newbies should check out the first album.
is out now via Bulk Recordings. The albums full track listing is …
1. “Octagon Octagon”
2. “Polka Dots”
3. “Black Hole Son”
4. “Power Of The World”
5. “Operation Zero”
6. “Bear Witness IV”
7. “Area 54 (IG2)”
8. “Flying Waterbed (IG4)”
9. “3030 Meets The Doc Pt.1”
10. “Karma Sutra”
11. “Hollywood Tailswinging