Release Date: Jul 12, 2011
Record label: Green Label Sound
Hailed three years ago as leaders of rap's latest new school, this easygoing Chicago duo are just now getting around to releasing their full-length debut. But if the Cool Kids aren't quite as buzzy as they once were, their skills are tighter than ever. Rappers Chuck Inglish and Mikey Rocks are a pair of mellow charmers, trading good-- humored boasts about cars and clothes—and, remarkably, holding their own alongside heavyweight guests like Ghostface Killah ("Penny Hardaway") and Bun B ("Gas Station").
Taking their name to heart, the Cool Kids took a three-year stroll from their beloved 2008 EP The Bake Sale to this 2011 debut album. "Aloof", "meandering", and "unwilling to 'seize the moment'” prove to be positive elements for this alt or underground hip-hop crew, both in their career and on album, as this sneaky yet rewarding, De La Soul-esque experience displays. Still, it’s a new “Daisy Age” as When Fish Ride Bicycles shakes off some of the group’s love of retro and enters the slick, post-Neptunes, post-N.E.R.D.
I vividly remember the December night I stumbled on the Cool Kids and thought, in many ways, I’d discovered the future. The group had their six existing songs uploaded to an Imeem account on which I spent at least two hours, leaving the music on repeat as I smoked a bowl and prepared my physics and chemistry homework for the next day. As the days progressed, I was consumed with the idea that I’d found my generation’s version of EPMD, a group so simplified and, for lack of better syntax, cool that they were likable enough by the mere experience of their sound.
Despite releasing a number of official mixtapes and gathering a large MySpace presence back when that still meant something, The Cool Kids are just now releasing what is technically their debut album, When Fish Ride Bicycles. Having signed on with Green Label Sound, Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish have taken advantage of their new opportunities as Official Emcees to expand on their sound. While some of these changes may be unexpected for first-wave fans, The Cool Kids do still sound like the duo they friend requested years ago.
Back when the Cool Kids first made the rounds a few years ago, it was still pretty weird-- revolutionary, even-- for a new group to build a buzz and an audience without relying on a physical product. The Chicago retro-rap duo seemed like they sprang fully formed from the Internet. They lived their lives one blog-bait mp3 at a time, releasing another dose of icy-cool 808 thud whenever the time felt right.
It seems rather frivolous to call When Fish Ride Bicycles the debut LP for Chicago/Detroit rappers, The Cool Kids. After all, it’s been three years since the release of The Bake Sale, the EP that started it all, and since then the group has unleashed a handful of mixtapes and singles. It just doesn’t seem right. But, in one sense, the Cool Kids are debuting a new sound.
When Fish Ride Bicycles, the phantom album that killed any possible hype because it was discussed without delivery for so long, has finally appeared. Basically, the young hipster-hop “cool” cousins of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince just showed up at the 4th of July BBQ. You may have noticed their arrival, or maybe you’re more enthralled with the egg salad.
It’s been nearly four years since Cool Kids announced themselves as rap’s most vocal throwback nostalgia act, discussing their preference in bike parts on “Black Mags. ” It’s been three years since Cool Kids issued their debut EP, The Bake Sale, an EP that was supposed to be a warm up to their inevitable debut LP, the same year that they released a single (“Delivery Man”) on Mountain Dew’s Green Label Sound. It’s been two years since Gone Fishin, the group’s finest long-form statement to date, the mixtape produced by mixtape heavyweight Don Cannon that was intended to preview the group’s “almost finished” debut LP, When Fish Ride Bicycles.
Just over three years since the release of their critically acclaimed EP The Bake Sale, Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish have come through with When Fish Ride Bicycles, their highly anticipated debut album. And while The Cool Kids have gotten their hype from their throwback style rooted in the golden era of hip-hop, the LP showcases an evolved, and slightly more contemporary look for the Midwest duo. With a step up in production value, and a stacked guest list of big name features, The Cool Kids look to prove that their debut was worth the wait.
Midwestern rap duo Cool Kids has waited three years for the release of its debut album, When Fish Ride Bicycles, so some overenthusiastic tendencies would be forgiven. Antoine Reed and Evan Ingersoll, better known as Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish, could have passed the time layering complex beats and mind numbingly fast lyrics or abusing the use of guest artists and well-known producers. Instead, they did the opposite—to engaging results.