Earth people! Dr. Octagon has descended from Jupiter, armed with seven rounds of space doo-doo pistols, to announce a new album, Moosebumps: an exploration into modern day horripilation. The new LP, out April 6, is being billed as the follow-up to the cult 1996 concept album Dr. Octagonecologyst, and the first in 22 years to team Kool Keith with beats maven Dan the Automator and scratch-master DJ Qbert.
If you’re unfamiliar with Kool Keith’s most beloved alterego (no offense, Dr. Dooom), Dr. Octagon is a time-traveling, extraterrestrial gynecologist who’s easily the most unhinged, homicidal surgeon this side of William S. Burroughs’s Dr. Benway. A new single, “Octagon Octagon,” kicks off with a newsflash about people going “Octagon crazy” about the good doctor’s return. With Dan the Automator laying down that familiar retro-futuristic horror vibe, Dr. Octagon brags about “living that Octagon life,” which consists of “writing Octagon in an Octagon hat with Octagon underwear taking an Octagon bath with Octagon soap.”
Okay, so these lyrics aren’t nearly as far-out as Octagon bragging, in “Blue Flowers,” about being a “paramedic fetus of the East,” but rest assured the other tracks are riddled with lines like “I’m a martian with a Stephen Curry face / your girl like it when I grip her waist / release the fluid like toothpaste.” In “Hollywood Tailswinging,” Octagon’s 208-year-old uncle Mr. Gerbick– the half shark-alligator, half man– makes an appearance, this time eating laundry detergent. In “Polka Dots,” Octagon cruises around in a polka-dot VW Bug with rocket launchers, in the midst of chemical warfare. In “Power of the World,” he says “the government wanna buy my mind” and describes the Obamas watching his spacecraft park. And these are just the lyrics that make sense.
Another track, “3030 Meets The Doc Pt.1,” finds Octagon encountering another Afrofuturist rapper, Del the Funky Homosapien, of Deltron 3030. It’s a match made in heaven (or rather, outer space), since Octagonecologyst took place in 3000 and Deltron 3030, also produced by Dan the Automator, took place in 3030.
Moosebumps is being billed as the first “true sequel” to Octagonecologyst, despite the 2006 album Return of Dr. Octagon. That effort didn’t feature Dan the Automator– who had gone on to produce albums for Gorillaz, Kasabian, and others– and its tracks were cut largely without Kool Keith’s involvement, after he had a falling out with the original producer. The result– more rap rock than trip-hop– doesn’t hold up nearly as well as Octagonecologyst does.
If you caught the Dr. Octagon reunion show at Irving Plaza in June, you know songs like “General Hospital”– in which a presumably high Dr. Octagon exclaims, “Oh, shit, there’s a horse in the hospital!”– still sound fresh as hell, even if trip-hop is now considered a ’90s thing. There’s a reason Pitchfork awarded Octagonecologyst an 8.7 when it was reissued last year, calling it an “indie-rap essential” and a “rap album of unprecedented oddity.”
Below is the track list for Moosebumps, recorded in Dan the Automator’s studio and being released on his Bulk Recordings label. You can head over here to pre-order the digital album or snag the limited-edition blood-splattered vinyl version, which contains a bonus track, “Aviator Hype,” and also comes in packages featuring, yes, an Octagon hat.
- Octagon Octagon
- Polka Dots
- Black Hole Son
- Power Of The World
- Operation Zero
- Bear Witness IV
- Area 54 (IG2)
- Flying Waterbed (IG4)
- 3030 Meets The Doc Pt.1
- Karma Sutra
- Hollywood Tailswinging