photo-by-clayton-hauck-2

The Cool Kids: The Simple Life

Chuck Inglish and Mikey Rock’s love for music goes far beyond paying homage to the influence of 80’s and 90’s Hip-Hop. For both of these Cool Kids, it started out as a hobby, distinguishing this duo from many other artist trying to get rich quick. Arriving at a downtown Chicago diner as if ‘88 is back and they haven’t been all over the world—or haven’t had Rolling Stone and the L.A Times name them Chicago’s next great Hip-Hop duo. Just seven months ago, The Cool Kids admitted to hanging on to their last $100 and scraping up just enough money to pay their cable bill while still making music. Within the last two years, Chuck Inglish (the more outspoken) and Mikey Rocks have made tremendous strides leading up to their upcoming album When Fish Ride Bicycles to be released later this year on independent label Chocolate Industries.Those strides include three releases, two EP, Totally Flossed Out in 2007 and The Bake Sale in June 2008, and the recent That’s Stupid mixtape. Then there’s performing at Lollapalooza 08’, opening for M.I.A, performing at the Pitchfork Festival, having their music featured on HBO’s Entourage and so on and so on. Anxious to go back to their “crib” and play NBA 2K9, which they’re featured in, Inglish recalls how they emerged out of Chicago’s music scene. “We were really doing [music] around our friends and our friends were DJ’s, local rock bands, just people who had way more. It just didn’t feel like we were ever those dudes that hung around those kids, so when we started making our own music, we were giving them to those kids instead of going out trying to network. We were kicking it with people.” The Cool Kids “Black Mags” VideoLong story short, after meeting via MySpace in 2005 (Rocks wanted a beat he heard on Inglish’s webpage), they linked up and started recording. Chicago’s Flosstradamus caught wind of the new duo, booked them for a show and it’s been on ever since. And after making some moves with Diplo and DJ A-Trak, the pair eventually signed with indie label Chocolate Industries in 2007. Not tailoring their style to any boilerplate rap themes (“We’re in our own lane; we’re not going into competition with no one else,” says Inglish), it’s obvious that part of Cool Kids lure is their correlation of ol’ skool Hip-Hop and with today’s Hip-Hop. Yet Inglish feels the music of his generation is short changing fans when compared to the sounds and creativity that sparked the 80’s and 90’s. “They’re getting cheated, even their album covers were great and then [record labels] wonder why people don’t want to buy CD’s,” says Inglish. “Nobody wants to see you on the front…with your arms folded in front of 3 or 4 cars. That ain’t s**t, like GZA had a whole optical illusion on his s**t. Nas had his baby pictures.” The Cool Kids “I’m Mikey” VideoLike the pioneers they salute, the Cool Kids relate more to an era of making music for the love and not money. “They trying to get paid. I’m gonna do this whether I’m broke as s**t cause six, seven months ago…I was not making any money,” says Inglish. “But if all that money went away, our attitude hasn’t changed since that money came in. Now we can stay at home and play video games all day. I don’t need a car, I just wanna have groceries and pay for cable without worrying. You should never try to do nothing because the end result is fame or money.”BEATS & RHYMESMikey was the first to rap over Inglish’s beats and their musical synergy began as simply as that. “I had my own idea of what I wanted the s**t to sound like,” says Inglish, whose plethora of beats made it easy for the two to work together. But little did Inglish know he would be rapping soon and testing his writing skills after being on bed rest with a broken ankle. “I got bored I didn’t have s**t else to do…started writing and wrote a rap,” is how Inglish recalls writing first rhymes. “I was gon’ say what he was gon’ say, because if he was like, ‘Nah n***a that’s wack,’ I would’ve just sucked it up and been like. ‘Aight, let me just do my job. But I just kept on writing” Mikey and Chuck still feel like there’s work to do, especially for their first major album release. With the title, When Fish Ride Bicycles, itself a little abstract, they rest assure that when you hear the songs, you will understand. Keeping their music close to them has been the secret to their demand and highly anticipated music. Says Inglish, “We like people to listen to it but its our s**t, it wasn’t like we would go out to the Hip-Hop shows and pass out s**t. We didn’t pass one thing out and still haven’t passed out s**t.” However, Inglish explains that he wanted to give people something to listen to for the summer, which sparked their most recent mixtape release That’s Stupid. “The beats on the mixtape, I just threw in the album. I wanted people to have something to listen to in the summer cause it was trunk heavy, we had a lotta drums, we was tryna rap a little bit different,” explains Inglish. Hard work mixed with dope beats and dope rhymes have brought the Cool Kids a long way. They intend to continue as trailblazers of the new school and hope to spark their contemporaries to make dope music. In the present, they are content with music and video games but being in their own lane calls for great responsibility, which they are ready to take. “If there is a constant parade of classics coming out like it was back in the day like all the people we met then it will be some hope for the shorties man! If could jump it off I would love to jump it off, there’s nobody that I’m tryna beat out, I’m not tryna compete with no one, I just wanna make the best album that we can make at the ages that we’re at,” says Inglish. Already known for their “trunk-heavy” beats and creative music concepts, ‘dope’ is the simple goal they’re aiming to achieve. “Our song concepts have a lot to with trying to make s**t dope,” says Rocks. “We never have a direct message, more along the lines of this sounds cool, let’s put this together, put cool raps to it. There it is, that’s the song right there, it’s real simple. It’s kind of a sit down [and] get it cracking process.” The Cool Kids “Delivery Man” VideoBut don’t mistake the simplicity for mediocrity. A thick catalog of songs, Internet chatter, international touring—and songs for Mountain Dew [“Delivery Man”]—only means the Chi-Town tag team has to show and prove with When Fish Ride Bicycles. “To go down in history your first album can’t be s**tty. It can’t even be mediocre,” says Inglish matter-of-factly, before confidently adding, “I’m Babe Ruth, I’m pointing to the wall before the ball gets hit.”

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