Ultramagnetic MCs Funk You Up Again

Ultramagnetic MCs Funk You Up Again
"The Ultramagnetic album is one project that differentiates me from what I've been doing,” says Kool Keith of his newest project, a return to his roots. "They can't really say it's about me. It's more of a collaboration of a group, you know.” Ultramagnetic MCs formed in 1984 and lasted about a decade before splitting over rapper-producer Ced Gee’s sale of unreleased demos to Tuff City without the group's permission. But they left quite a legacy; before breaking up, Ced Gee, Kool Keith, DJ Moe Love, plus sometime-members TR Love and Tim Dog, released three critically-acclaimed classics — Critical Beatdown, Funk Your Head Up and The Four Horsemen — revolutionizing rap writing and introducing the sampler as a primary instrument in the process.

Post-split, kooky Kool Keith has been the only one to attain success under a variety of aliases, beginning with his acclaimed turn as Dr. Octagon in 1996. That same year, Keith attempted to recreate Ultramagnetic MCs — as Ultra, with only himself and Tim Dog — and followed it up five years later with a proper reunion for the twelve-inch "Make It Rain”/"Mix It Down.”

"We was doing tracks a while ago,” Keith says, "but I was travelling so much that we used to do six or seven songs and then stop for a long, long time and then crank up the hype again.” While the just-released The Best Kept Secret may not be a classic like its predecessors, partly due to Ced Gee's poorly-aged Dr. Seuss rhymes, it's definitely better than one might expect, also partly due to Ced Gee's classic yet creative party productions backing both himself and a reinvigorated Keith.

But, according to Keith, this album isn't just another example of a hip-hop legend jumping on the comeback bandwagon. "We never physically broke up,” Keith reveals, "we just was away from each other. Plus, they just got a different schedule from mine now; they all kinda doing regular stuff now. I was the first guy to initiate doing an album together.”