- Kool Keith
But it's not just shock value that makes Kool Keith so noteworthy. The self-proclaimed Black Elvis's eccentric flow never goes off the topic, and his veteran skills make even the most mundane subject matter sound astounding -- even in freestyle. Keith's exceptionally musical Dr. Octagon, dropped in '96, established the MC as a cross-cultural cult hero, but his subsequent string of character-driven concept albums haven't featured a legitimate single and often seem like formalities to justify an annual tour. His shows strongly support the oft-repeated maxim that true hip-hop isn't on wax; it's onstage. Quoth the Spankmaster: "You do your shit in the studio; we bring our shit to your face."