Album Reviews

The Cool Kids – The Bake Sale

(XL) UK release date: 4 August 2008

The Cool Kids - The Bake Sale They’re too cool for school. They’re the kids that cracked jokes at the back of the class every time the teacher turned around. They’re so cool, they can’t even tell you about it – that’s why they rap about it. They’re The Cool Kids.

Chicago’s Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish form the rap duo that focuses on the lighter side of things. Instead of rapping about money, hoes, and rims, they rap about ice cream, old-school pagers, and how everything was so much cooler back in 1988.

The cheeky humor involved would go sour very quickly if it weren’t for The Cool Kids’ savoury lyrical prowess. After claiming on One Two that they’re a “new black version of the Beastie Boys,” Chuck and Mikey follow it up with: “I’m on the dyno with the black mags / Smooth as the vinyl in the black bag / Stumble like the wino with the brown bag.” Stuck between a chorus formed around a children’s rhyme (“One, two, lace up my shoes”), The Cool Kids prove successful at interspersing juvenile quirks with in-depth quips.

The production on The Bake Sale EP also leans toward the lighter side. In contrast to the increasingly complicated modern beats of Kanye West and Danger Mouse, The Cool Kids have opted for an old-school beat feel that recalls the early days of drum machines. The beat for opening track What Up Man is comprised of a blend of vocal samples and ancient sound effects that sounds surprisingly fresh. Inglish even touts “Did you know I made this beat with my mouth and a bell?”

But the album doesn’t stay in the ’80s the whole time. Bassment Party rides along on a busy electronic hi-hat as the duo try to describe where their house party is and how banging it will be. Gold And A Pager features the increasingly popular sampled deep voice (modulated below the normal speaking range) common to modern hip-hop tracks. The Cool Kids want you to know that part of their coolness lies in how they can blend the new with the old, bringing the modern-day effects into the beats that they feel in love with in their youth.

Mikey and Chuck are dressed to impress on The Bake Sale, and as an EP (that could have been labeled an LP) the songs are a perfect introduction to the clever duo. Their old-school gospel has been spreading, too, as songs from this release have been featured in a Rhapsody advert, in video games, and on HBO’s Entourage. The duo have also been rubbing elbows with M.I.A., Santigold, Lil Wayne, and others. They even have another mixtape already posted on their MySpace page.

It appears that nothing can stop The Cool Kids from asserting their coolness. Let’s hope their cool streak can last through their first official full length release.

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