Kool Keith
Kool Keith
Background information
Birth name Keith Matthew Thornton
Origin The Bronx, New York
Genre(s) Hip hop
Occupation(s) Rapper, producer
Years active 1984—present
Label(s) Various
Associated acts Ultramagnetic MCs, Analog Brothers, Masters of Illusion, Thee Undatakerz, The Clayborne Family, KutMasta Kurt, Dan the Automator
Website Kool
Notable instrument(s)
Rapping, keyboard, bass guitar

Keith Matthew Thornton, better known by his stage name Kool Keith, is an American rapper. A founding member of Ultramagnetic MCs, Kool Keith has also recorded extensively both as a solo artist and under multiple aliases.


After the release of Ultramagnetic MCs' debut album, Critical Beatdown, Thornton was reportedly institutionalized in Bellevue Hospital Center.[1][2] However, he admitted later that the idea that he was institutionalized came from a flippant remark made during a stressful interview and he never expected the story to become so well-known.[3] Following the unsuccessful release of Ultramagnetic MCs' second and third albums, Thornton released his first notable solo single, "Earth People," in 1995, under the name Dr. Octagon, followed by the release of Dr. Octagonecologyst the following year. The album's production by Dan the Automator and scratching by DJ Qbert was acclaimed by critics, and the album was released nationally by DreamWorks Records, who also issued an instrumental version of the album, titled Instrumentalyst (Octagon Beats).[1][2] Thornton followed the album with Sex Style in 1997 under his own name.

In 1998, Thornton collaborated with Tim Dog for the single "The Industry is Wack," performing under the name Ultra.[1][2] The following year, he released the album First Come, First Served under the name "Dr. Dooom", in which the album's main character killed off Dr. Octagon on the album's opening track. On August 10, 1999, Thornton released Black Elvis/Lost in Space. It peaked at #10 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, #74 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and #180 on the Billboard 200.[4] On July 25, 2000, Thornton released the album Matthew. It peaked at #47 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.[5] The same year, Thornton collaborated with Ice-T, Marc Live, Black Silver and Pimp Rex for the album Pimp to Eat, under the group name Analog Brothers, with Keith performing as Keith Korg and Ice-T as Ice Oscillator.[1]

On June 5, 2001, Thornton released the album Spankmaster on Esham's Overcore Records through TVT Records.[6] It peaked at #16 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, #11 on the Top Independent Albums chart and #48 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.[7] In 2002, Thornton began recording The Resurrection of Dr. Octagon with producer Fanatik J,[8][9] signing a contract with CMH Records to release the album, which was eventually completed without much input from Thornton, due to a falling out over contractual terms.[9] Thornton, Marc Live and H-Bomb formed the group KHM, releasing the album Game on November 19, 2002, changing their name to "The Clayborne Family" by the release of their second album.[2] On October 12, 2004, Thornton released the mixtape Official Space Tape. The same day, Real Talk Entertainment issued the unauthorized release Dr. Octagon Part 2. The album was discontinued by court order.[2] On April 25, 2006, Thornton released the album Nogatco Rd. under the name Mr. Nogatco.[2] On June 27, The Return of Dr. Octagon was released by OCD International, an imprint of CMH, advertised as the official follow-up to Dr. Octagonecologyst.[9] In August, Thornton performed under the Dr. Octagon billing, but did not acknowledge the release of the OCD album.[10]

Lyrical and performance styleEdit

Thornton's lyrics are often abstract,[11] surreal,[12] and filled with non-sequiturs and juvenile humor.[13] Thornton is also known for an explicit style focusing on sexual themes, which Thornton has referred to as "pornocore".[14][15] In a 2007 interview, Thornton claims to have "invented horrorcore".[16]


  • 1996: Dr. Octagonecologyst
  • 1997: Sex Style
  • 1999: First Come, First Served
  • 1999: Black Elvis/Lost in Space
  • 2000: Matthew
  • 2001: Spankmaster
  • 2004: Diesel Truckers (with KutMasta Kurt)
  • 2006: Nogatco Rd.
  • 2006: Project Polaroid (with TomC3)
  • 2006: The Return of Dr. Octagon
  • 2008: Dr. Dooom 2
  • 2009: Tashan Dorrsett


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, ed (2004). "Kool Keith". The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (fourth edition ed.). Simon and Schuster. pp. 466–467. ISBN 0743201698. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Cooper, Sean (2003). "Kool Keith". All Music Guide to Hip-Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap & Hip-hop. Backbeat Books. pp. 267–268. ISBN 0879307595. 
  3. Downs, David (November 21, 2008). "Kool Keith and KutMasta Kurt". The A.V. Club. Retrieved on 2008-11-21.
  4. "Charts and awards Black Elvis/Lost in Space". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2008-09-08.
  5. "Charts and awards for Matthew". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2008-09-08.
  6. All Music Guide to Hip-Hop: The Definitive Guide to Rap & Hip-hop. Backbeat Books. 2003. pp. 160–163. ISBN 0879307595. 
  7. "Charts and awards for Spankmaster". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2008-09-08.
  8. Goodman, Abbey (April 5, 2002). "All The Voices In Kool Keith's Head Working On New Albums". MTV News. Retrieved on 13 December 2008. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Downs, David (September 27, 2006). "Kool Keith CD Scam Exposed". East Bay Express. Retrieved on 25 January 2009. 
  10. Godfrey, Sarah (August 26, 2006). "Kool Keith's Bits & Pieces". The Washington Post. p. C08. Retrieved on 19 January 2009. 
  11. Juon, Steve (September 1996). "Review of Dr. Octagonecologyst". RapReviews. Retrieved on 2009-01-27.
  12. Hess, Mickey (2007). "The Rap Persona". Is Hip Hop Dead? The Past, Present, and Future of America's Most-Wanted Music. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 75-76. ISBN 0275994619. 
  13. Huey, Steve. "Review of Dr. Octagonecologyst". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-01-27.
  14. Huey, Steve. "Review of Sex Style". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-02-19.
  15. Frauenhofer, Michael (June 29, 2006). "Review of The Return of Dr. Octagon". PopMatters. Retrieved on 2009-01-27.
  16. Kane; QED (July 19, 2007). "Kool Keith Interview". Original UK Hip Hop. Retrieved on 2008-08-04.