Kool Keith

Dismaying as it may be, America still prefers its black entertainers to be goofy and depraved. The elephant in the room about figures like Blowfly, Wesley Willis and Kool Keith is that their extravagant strangeness ultimately reassures white listeners of their superiority. It may be more unconscious (even good-natured) these days, but the nervous laughter and free pass widely extended to Keith provide damning evidence. Still, he may have hit nauseating lows on his 1997 album Sex Style, but musically speaking it’s unfair to put him in the same category as the more despicably obscene Blowfly or the genuinely schizophrenic, one-trick Willis. Bona-fide artistic inspiration runs deep throughout Keith’s body of work and, however much he plays up his own peculiarities, his delivery remains one of the most distinctive in all of rap. In the end, his awkward, almost anti-rhythmic flow makes its own warped kind of sense. With Kutmasta Kurt, Foreign Objects, Sonny Bonoho. SABY REYES-KULKARNI

Fri., Jan. 29, 8 p.m., 2010

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