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CD REVIEW

The Cool Kids “The Bake Sale”

by Philip Brasor

The story goes that Chicagoans Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish got into hip-hop with the idea of producing simple jams to sell to MCs. But as often happens, the two couldn’t help but add their own raps over the tracks they made, and then they posted some of them on the Internet. People liked what they heard, which was basically two very young men with carefree attitudes goofing on anything that struck their fancy. Hence the name: The Cool Kids.

They’ve been labeled “old school” because of their bargain-basement taste in sonics — cheap drum machines, “Space Invader” synth loops — but what mainly distinguishes them from post-Public Enemy hip-hoppers is their unabashed obsession with a very limited world view. They rap a lot about their shoes and their haircuts, and actually make those shoes and those haircuts interesting. They obviously have a bright future in advertising, and it’s only a matter of time before you hear their beats in some sneaker commercial. Until then, though, you can dig freestyle nonsense such as this: “I’m about to say screw it/Grow a jheri curl and wear a diaper like Cupid/or something else stupid.”

Mikey and Chuck are more convincing than older MCs who try to recapture the simpler sounds of the early hip-hop they grew up with, even though the pair weren’t alive at that time. Distance can be liberating.