Release Date: Apr 8, 2014
Record label: Federal Prism
Genre(s): Rap, Alternative Rap, Pop-Rap
If the Cool Kids sound like the cool collision of De La Soul and the Neptunes, crew member Chuck Inglish (aka Evan Ingersoll) proves he's the best bits of Pharrell Williams and Posdnuos mixed together on this solo debut, spewing off wonderfully weird rhymes over alt-rap productions he expertly brewed himself and that borrow from outside genres, up to and including electro. In this case, Chromeo is his Daft Punk as they bring a "Get Lucky"-like groove to the neo-disco workout "Legs," while anyone familiar with Kavinsky, Giorgio Moroder, or '90s video game music will be at home with the slick nocturnal tones of "Swervin'," a nighttime highlight that could help join Schoolly D and Three 6 Mafia in any given DJ set. Despite its title, "Shitty Lullaby" is a funky, motivational number that quotes Parliament-Funkadelic while beefing up listeners with "drive a salt truck through it!," but the required amount of hip-hop anchors are here as well, like the thumping Shadyville sound of "Came Thru/Easily" with Ab-Soul and Mac Miller.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Midwestern hip-hop has been trebucheted from teensy underground scenes (with a few exceptions of course, most notably Eminem et al.) in recent years to a formidable geographical hotspot for the genre. Hip-hop may be rooted in the East/West coast 'old families', sometimes verging into Texas for Houston's burbling Southern rap, but the North - especially Chicago and Detroit - are becoming the go-to locales for gold medal hip-hop and progressive, frontier-shattering rappers and producers.
It’s safe to say that Hip Hop is about as diverse and variant as it’s ever been. Sure, there will always be the stubborn stalwarts that constantly squawk about how every song sounds the same. But if you’ve been paying close enough attention since the mid-2000s, a number of artists lazily shoved into the “hipster Rap” category, including but not limited to Kid Cudi, The Knux and The Cool Kids, have actually done a lot to push the music towards uncharted boundaries once thought too soft, too strange, too alien or too trendy for Hip Hop.
The first thing to know about Convertibles, rapper-producer Chuck Inglish’s first solo album, is that it has more surface appeal than anything he’s done as half of Chicago-founded duo The Cool Kids. In his work with Sir Michael Rocks, Chuck’s nostalgic approach has always been more organic than scholarly, featuring hearty drums and hooks beholden to the ’80s and early ’90s. It was a head-swiveling approach when the two showed up during the late ‘00s, and Chuck and Mikey’s influence stretched wide for a couple of years.
Urgency has never been much of a concern for Chuck Inglish. The music he and Mikey Rocks put out as the Cool Kids relies on nonchalance rather than a burning desire to impress—it's the kind of rap that works because they're committed to it and have clearly done their homework when it comes to the brand of 1980s revivalism they trade in, understanding the power of negative space and artful simplicity. On the best Cool Kids songs, the less effort it appears they're expending, the better the results.
Stepping out of acclaimed duo The Cool Kids, Chuck Inglish delivers a solo debut to slot nicely into the shelf of mass appeal rap alongside Macklemore and go kart larker, Asher Roth. There’s definitely not a Yeezus level of abrasion or the haunting harrowing tales of the likes of Kendrick Lamar as Inglish creates an atmosphere the Fresh Prince of Bel Air could breathe deep in. Retro, hook-led and unashamedly showy ‘Convertibles’ lives up to its name as a fun Sunday drive but without the power or substance to tackle any tougher terrain.As most rap albums do, Inglish brings a high quality stable of guests with hotly tipped rappers, Vic Mensa, Mac Miller, Ab-Soul and Chance The Rapper all taking duties on the mic.
Convertibles, the debut solo album from Chuck Inglish, is a sonically ambitious affair, mixing Inglish’s laid back lyricism with infectious party vibes. The album, co-produced by Mike Einzinger—the guitarist from Incubus for all you who got down with Morning View—is an eclectic array of songs, making for an interesting, if not cohesive, listen. Bringing Einzinger on board was clearly an attempt by Inglish to add some new layers and depth to his music.