The Cool Kids
The Bake Sale EP
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With frivolous brag lines and clean, minimal beats, the Cool Kids urinate willfully all over the idea of crack narratives and trigger-happy posturing, and are relishing every step of the way. At the pace of a pregnant snail, these two Chicago emcees highlight the late 1980s and their colorful fashion sense all over their self-produced The Bake Sale EP. Interested parties probably gathered Cool Kids mp3s or the 12" on Fool's Gold last year before the sizable tide of buzz hit: Members Chuck Inglish and Mikey Rocks covered a lot of U.S. ground in 2007, performing with the upper echelon of frequently hyped talents such as M.I.A. or Clipse. Alongside Clipse's Pusha T. on a remix of "Drivin' Down the Block," a newer cut from another Chicago indie hip hop outfit called Kidz in the Hall, Chuck and Mikey slip in reliably humorous punchlines against polished, menacing plinks and hi-hat snaps. In company that some might brand "The Serious Kids," or "The Seriously Dealer Kids," the Cool Kids sound almost at home. But they're better off talkin'-up bikes and pagers over their own early Def Jam-celebrating beats.
Each Bake Sale backdrop sounds like a half-time loop of the Beastie Boys' "Slow Ride," minus the "Low Rider" brass bits. Nay, consistent with the subject matter at hand, the Cool Kids sample only from themselves—Mike Jones' style—pitching down lines from their own "Gold and a Pager" and "One Two" for the chorus on an unapologetic love letter to BMX called "Black Mags." Outside of two uptempo tracks, Chuck and Mikey shell out insults like "You clown jokesters pose for poser posters" at a measured pace, while their bare beats snap and blurt a tad below the vocals in the mix. The Cool Kids articulate an occasional gem, such as those prominently on display on "Mikey Rocks" and "A Little Bit Cooler," but it's almost a surprise—Bake Sale is 100% backyard summer fare, leaving little room for profound quotables. Just as the record’s silliness grows tiresome, the emcees sneak in allusions that take at least a subsequent listen to settle while steering far clear of the redundancies plaguing both well-known and underground hip hop releases.
More often than not, it takes but one spin for purposely nerdy hip hop to wear out its welcome (Remember Hot Karl?). The Cool Kids' enthusiasm for Air Jordans and breakfast cereal is capably captured on Bake Sale, and though its "Goin' Back to Cali"-pace and goofy rhymes will irk some, Chuck and Mikey craft a decent half hour, even if you've convinced yourself by now that 1988 never took place, and that picture of you dressed like an ass couldn't possibly have happened.