As with E.T, big foot and the Loch Ness monster, the search for new music is a never-ending task. While the Internet and file sharing has widened our gaze, the sheer volume can be blinding. These days it’s not enough to be good, you have to bring something else to the table if you want to get noticed. Step forward The Cool Kids, a hip-hop duo hailing from Chicago, fresher than a fish sucking a Smint.
For the past few years hip hop in the states has been suffering; the genre was stagnant with few releases doing anything that hadn’t been heard before. In 2007 album sales nose-dived and the ‘hip hop tycoon’ icon with their own clothing labels, butlers and perfumes finally crumbled under street level scrutiny. The music that Chuck D famously heralded as the ‘CNN of the ghetto’ had changed channels and no one was watching anymore.
Into this environment The Cool Kids, have emerged. They ride bikes not Benzes, drink Kool-Aid not Cristal and are tipped to be one of the hottest acts in 2008.
Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish are kids of the 80’s and they are fully decked out in the decade. The fashion, the visuals and the attitude all hark back to the hip-hop of yesteryear when having fun was premium and the good times rolled; the colours are bright, the sneakers are chunky and the gold rope chains hang heavier than a sack full of anchors.
With the basic hip-hop groundings sorted The Cool Kids set upon it with their own blend of future sounds from the underground. Low slung, swaggering bass-lines, hollow drums, vocoded samples and synth riffs are all used sparingly ensuring maximum effect for a minimal sound. Breakthrough single ‘Black Mags’ is a quirky ode to the BMX bike and a fine example of what the boys are about. The beats are slow yet furiously catchy, the lyrics are jovial yet astute and delivered with a superb flow, ‘Ride past shorty light skin with no melanin/Shirt looks like someone stuffed two melons in/had to stop so I could preach like reverend’. Combine these parts with a slick black and white video shot in their own Chi-town neighbourhood and the results get you close to half a million views on YouTube and a tour supporting M.I.A.
Originally signed by respected turntablist and Kanye West’s tour DJ, A-Trak, The Cool Kids later left his Fool’s Gold label and stuck to their own, joining up with local Chicago based Chocolate Industries, notorious for picking up on cutting edge new music and the label who first brought pint sized potty mouth Lady Sovereign to our attention. The move is further indication that The Cool Kids are determined to set themselves apart form the current hip-hop hierarchy by swerving the major labels and pitching for the big time on their own terms. With E.P. ‘The Bake Sale’ due out in January, an album scheduled for later on in the year and celebrated live shows currently spreading the word, the duo look set to make their mark as retro gets reworked and The Cool Kids take hip-hop back to the future.