Artist Profile: The Cool Kids
Fri, 14 Dec 2007 09:20:16
Hip-hop upstarts The Cool Kids have found the perfect solution to the "style vs. substance" conundrum. Their style is substance. The Chicago-based duo, which consists of 19-year-old Mikey Rocks and 23-year-old Chuck Inglish, aptly sum up this style in their lyrics; "We’re bringing ’88 back." Even though the Kids kick it in throwback Jordan’s, flipped-brim ball caps and the occasional cardigan, the is music the freshest part of their act. Mikey and Chuck make the most intricate tag-team wordplay sound effortless, as they glide over bass-minded beats and the occasional rock power chord ripped straight from the '80s.
Their image will no doubt draw comparisons to the golden age of hip-hop—whether it’s the stage presence of Run DMC or the smooth delivery of Slick Rick. Luckily, The Cool Kids understand the difference between reinvention and rehash. Their trick: they don't just emulate the methods of the greats, but they revive the spirit. They push the conventions of classic hip-hop with the same vigor and ingenuity that the pioneers had. The resulting jams, like "88" and "Black Mags," mash together tried-and-true hip-hop ingredients with the MCs' own inimitable flavor to form something you’ve never heard before.
Part of this distinctive style derives from their true-to-life lyrics. The Cool Kids crank out anthems about everyday life, whether it's tricking out bikes with black mag wheels, flashing the gold on their pagers or just ragging on UPS for delivering a package to the wrong address. These topics might come off as mundane in unskilled hands, but the pair's execution takes them two steps beyond exceptional. The flat-out coolness of lines like, "Shoes on my feet sweeter than sweet peas so you sucker MCs really can’t out-step me," speak for themselves.
Like their subject matter, The Cool Kids' story is equally rooted in the contemporary. The two met over Myspace, and after digging each other's music, they teamed up to produce new hip-hop artists. Plans changed when the two realized they’re pretty dope MCs themselves, and since then Mikey and Chuck have turned out a number of head-bobbing Internet tracks that created quite a stir amongst the on-line music community.
Propelled by the electronic hype machine, The Cool Kids grabbed a spot on tour with M.I.A. and made appearances at multiple 2007 festivals, including the CMJ Music Marathon and Pitchfork Festival. Plus, their songs were featured on the HBO show Entourage and the NBA Live 08 soundtrack. Not too shabby considering they've only released one single through traditional outlets.
With so much success from only a handful of hits on the web, it’s no wonder The Cool Kids have been approached by multiple labels looking for a piece of the hot new style. The hip-hoppers will release their long awaited EP The Bake Sale this January on Fool's Gold—a label partially run by DMC. Then The Kids will officially join Chocolate Industries in mid-2008 with the unveiling of their debut full-length, tentatively titled Totally Flossed Out. Can’t wait that long? Then get down with the free tracks that are currently lighting up their Myspace; all the cool kids are doing it.