[BIG WHEEL HIP-HOP] The hyperactive pinball machine that is Chi-town’s hip-hop scene has popped out its latest two-stepping prettyboy MCs, the Cool Kids. Despite a four-year age gap between them—Mikey just graduated from high school—Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish connected via MySpace in 2005, and the results have been, well, cool. The Cool Kids creep tight on the stylistic heels of N.E.R.D., Lupe Fiasco and L.A.’s the Pack. But the kids are dipped in ’80s-inspired striped and screenprint tees, candy-colored skinny jeans and flipped-bill New Era hats. These kids have the swagger displayed by their popular peers, but without the millions of dead presidents to back them.
The Bake Sale, the duo’s debut EP—which was released this year under Chocolate Industries—is a 10-track, total team effort. The Cool Kids’ recipe consists of puréed half-time eight-count beats, hypnotic bass lines and effortlessly enunciated, monosyllabic, laconic lyrics (“It takes a scoop of being cool and the rest will be included when you purchase my movie”). The choruses are as difficult as singalong nursery rhymes (“I’m Mikey: I rock”)—and hand claps are in no short order. The duo wrote, recorded and produced every song on the silly, smarmy, head-knocking record, and it’s a fine audio representation of Chuck and Mikey’s own stylistic playfulness.
The Cool Kids are blowing up with kids of all ages, and it’s largely because their particular brand of cool seems so attainable. You might be standing on the corner of Awkward Avenue and Nowhere Street in tube socks and Tevas, but if you’re bumping The Bake Sale in those headphones, chances are you’re popping the collar on your own cloak of impenetrable cool.