Masters of Illusion, Kut Master Kurt Presents Masters of Illusion (Threshold Recordings): The year 2000 couldn't have been so bad. After all, we got three albums from mad hip-hop genius Kool Keith: his keyboard-heavy Analog Brothers project, with a crew of folks including Ice-T; his own Matthew; and the Masters of Illusion project, a romp with producer/DJ Kut Master Kurt and occasional rhyming partner Motion Man that went from funky ("The Bay Bronx Bridge," "Let Me Talk to You") to haunted hardcore ("Masters of Illusion," "Step Up"). This album's repetitious choruses and off-the-wall rhymes about wack rappers and sex are familiar territory for Kool Keith fans, but it was definitely an inspired choice to make an entire album with Motion Man — perhaps the only other rapper (aside from Keith himself) who makes a basic dis rhyme like "My head is hollow point tip/ Straight penetrate deep in your skull/ My marksmen skills/ Be on some Bronson Eastwood/ Rambo Segal Norris tip/ What ya' heard — I'm a nerd?" sound like he's correct and there's no way anyone can claim to be a better rapper. Except Keith, whose increasingly bizarre lyrics ("Chicken salad/ Don't fuck with grandma laying on the pallet") stand out at every juncture. Together, inspiring each other to shine, they're an unbeatable combo. Also in fine form here is Kut Master Kurt, ripping up the 1s and 2s pretty hard when he's not letting DJ Revolution, DJ Rhettmatic or DJ Babu let loose with some ill scratching. While not a classic on the order of Sex Style or Dr. Octogynocologist, Kut Master Kurt Presents Masters of Illusion is a great addition to Keith's delightfully twisted catalog. — Randy Reiss

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