The Cool Kids
When Fish Ride Bicycles
Suffering through a delayed album release is pretty much a hip hop right of passage, especially when you’re heavily buzzed about and regularly being tagged as a next big thing. For some acts this delay is deadly. The hype gets to their heads and by the time their bloated debut gets out the door whatever they did to get noticed is no longer interesting or too many voices got in their ears and they’ve abandoned their spark to chase someone else’s because that’s now the flavor of the month. Thankfully The Cool Kids avoided all those traps, and despite waiting four years since getting noticed, their throwback beats and rhymes still hit things right throughout their LP debut, When Fish Ride Bicycles.
That’s not to say nothing’s changed for Chicago’s Chuck Inglish and Mikey Rocks. Their breakout single “Black Mags” was about pedaling around town, but in opening the album with “Rush Hour Traffic” and “GMC” they make it clear these days they roll with an extra pair of wheels. Still the power behind those wheels remains the same; engaging verbal interplay over a satisfying helping of tick tick boom. Usually their beats add little more than a baseline or keyboard stabs to the heavy drums, and they rarely need anything more. Most of the production comes from The Cools Kids themselves, but guests show up on more than half the tracks. Travis Barker helps out on standout “Sour Apples” and Pharrell Williams handles the beats on Summer Jam” and has Neptunes artist Maxine Ashley sing the hook. “Get Right” and the Mayer Hawthorne assisted “Swimsuits” also take inspiration from warmer temperatures, but not forgetting where they come from, “Bundle Up” celebrates their hometown’s other season. The Bun B collaboration “Gas Station” picks up some southern seasoning, and the Ghostface collaboration “Penny Hardaway” features a beat with some Wu Tang edge and chorus that gets right to the heart of their appeal: “If you’re knowin’ where we’re going, than you’re probably gone be coming with us.”