Keith Richmond aka Dot Rich is a long time rapper born in Omaha, NE but raised not too far from us in Kenosha, WI. He got into music at an early age and quickly earned the respect of his peers. He’s released a total of six albums or books as he calls them, performed at a large variety of shows, put together a group, and more. He’s also dabbled in the world of art. Last month, he released what is to be his final project. The project is called GSVIII: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. It is the third and last volume in his Graduate Studies series.
GSVIII: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth consists of 19 total tracks. This includes skits as well as interludes. The project begins with a couple of thought provoking tunes set to original trendy productions. An early standout being “What Doesn’t Matter Doesn’t Exist (Keo’s Theme).” The song gives an eccentric energy as Keith Richmond goes on a journey of self-reflection. The collective also touches on matters of the heart. “The Snow Butterfly Effect” is the gem in this area as well as a site favorite. It’s a slow metaphorical study of the impact of relationships. This record is accented by the emotionally haunting vocals of Alex Marie Brinkley on the hook. Definitely a must hear. Especially if you don’t mind your Hip-Hop with a bit of a twist. There is also some street educational content going on. Dot Rich teamed up with A, Brantley to contribute “The Hustla’s Handbook (Professor Rich’s Theme).” It’s a breezy number that gives some sound advice in a swagged out manner. The more traditional Hip-Hop heads will dig this one. Fittingly enough, saying goodbye is another theme that is explored throughout the album. “Oceans In Wildfires (Keo’s Departure)” is a record that does this in a creative fashion. There is a lot of vivid imagery here and the hook is very stirring. Finally, the LP concludes with “No Way Home (Kraze’s Theme).” This is a heavy hitting track with some choice wordplay. Which is an ideal approach to the last selection. But it didn’t give the bang one would anticipate for the ending song on an artist’s final project. Especially one with such an extensive history. So a little disappointment there. But as a whole, GSVIII: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth is a versatile and thorough effort.
**My Two Cents: Keith Richmond gives me a conscious Tech N9ne type of vibe. He experiments with a lot of different styles but is still Hip-Hop at his core. I love that alternative approach. GSVIII: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth gives the listener a lot to absorb. It’s one of those projects that you have to sit with and give it your undivided attention to truly understand and appreciate it. That’s why I kind of took a different route with the review. Opinions alone just won’t do it justice. I think it makes for a memorable farewell piece. Readers with a diverse music palate should definitely give the album an ear when they have a moment. Thank you for your contributions to Hip-Hop Mr. Richmond! Best wishes on the next phase of your journey! -MinM