The Chill Factor

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Posted June 17, 2010 in Music

In their five years since forming, Chicago rap duo The Cool Kids has accomplished plenty. They’ve played Coachella, Lollapalooza, Rock the Bells and the Pitchfork Music Festival. They’ve had their music in commercials for Nike and Rhapsody (the one with Sara Bareilles), and gotten placement on several video games and Entourage. They’ve put out critically acclaimed music at a rapid pace, putting them at the forefront of hipster hip-hop.

The one thing they haven’t done yet is the one thing that usually precedes all of those other benchmarks: release a proper full-length, studio album. Though it’s not for a lack of trying.

“There’re a lot of people that don’t understand why we haven’t put out a record,” says Chuck Inglish (real name: Evan Ingersoll), one-half of The Cool Kids along with Mikey Rocks (real name: Antoine Reed). “It’s not our fault.”

Inglish, speaking via telephone while packing before a trip to London, stresses that he can’t really talk in details about the reasons why they haven’t been able to put out an album (it involves a lawsuit), but his frustration is evident.

“Mainly [it’s] because we signed a licensing deal that had some tricky language in it,” Inglish says. “We thought we had it ironed-out, but we were dealing with a label and a guy that just doesn’t get it.”

The Cool Kids—who in a potentially related issue, are facing unfolding rumors that they may have to change their names due to legal reasons, possibly stemming from a year-old dispute with Texas band Teenage Cool Kids—are reacting to the delay and other annoyances the best way they can. They’ve released several mixtapes—the hip-hop promotional kind, not the “make one for your junior high sweetie” kind—for free through their website, most recently last month’s Tacklebox, to get their music to fans and stay active.

 

Inglish promises that when the full-length, When Fish Ride Bicycles, finally drops (he’s hoping for October or November of this year—fingers crossed), it’ll be a steep sonic evolution from their previous material.

“It’s pretty much done,” he says. “It’s like a whole ’nother world compared to what people have heard from us. The difference between [2008 EP] The Bake Sale and When Fish Ride Bicycles is like night and day.”

Though Inglish is eager to get the album out, he acknowledges that this means of releasing songs represents a shift to how the music industry, and especially hip-hop, works.

“It’s kind of like the end of hair metal,” he says. “It’s a luxury to put out an album without dealing with any bullshit. At a time when the Internet is so prevalent, we can just release music and all the fans that would want it can go get it without any problems.”

The Cool Kids may represent the very latest trends in music distribution, but their music itself—frequently compared to genre legends Eric B. and Rakim—is pretty traditional. Just take a trip through Tacklebox: There’s heavy sampling, old-school beats on tracks like “Volume II” and lyrics like “I’m Mike what’s your name/Them legs look gourmet.”

“I really just listen to the old shit,” Inglish says. “They knew that their shit had to be jamming in order for it to get noticed. It wasn’t like, ‘Let’s get this song out, let’s make it a hit.’ It was like, ‘Damn, we gotta make the jam or people aren’t gonna listen to us.’”

 

The Cool Kids w/Kidz in the Hall, Donnis, DJ Yadigg? at The Glass House, 200 W. 2nd St., Pomona, (909) 865-3802; www.theglasshouse.us, www.coolxkids.com. Fri, June 18. 8PM. $15 advance, $20 door.


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