The Cool Kids – When Fish Ride Bicycles | Album Review

The year 2011 has been the year where many delayed/mythical albums have finally seen the light of day. From Saigon’s impressive “debut” to the solid/disappointment that was Lupe Fiasco’s LASERS (depending on your stance), it seems the power of an anticipated release isn’t enough to appeal to hold fans’ attention.

So it makes for an ideal time for Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish – better known as the Cool Kids – to drop their first studio album; especially considering the last four years the Chi-City tandem have provided tonnes of throwback dopeness on the world wide web but all under the guise of mixtapes and EPs, When Fish Ride Bicycles hopes to maintain the appeal of one of the few successful duos going strong in the game today.

Firmly establishing their sound in the zealous bass and boom baps of the previous generation, the Kids continue to pay homage with some fine beats and old school rhyme styles. The chemistry between Chuck and Mikey remains, as displayed on ‘Rush Hour Traffic’ where their give and go rhyming style exerts chemistry akin to the Jordan and Pippen days of the Chicago Bulls.

Also when bringing on board long time collaborator Tennille on the dope ‘Boomin” they produce material good enough to go beyond their loyal following. Although lyrically, verses are immersed in swagged out gear (‘Penny Hardaway’ featuring Ghostface), spoiling their significant others (‘Swimsuits’) and general partying, WFRB also exhibits some trill Midwest vibes which crosses the hipster fanbase into the realms of player/pimp culture.

‘Gas Station’ is a slick, bumpy ride; composed of a heavy bass, moves as if it were a lowrider trawling through the sun at 2mph and has UGK‘s Bun B open the track, a polishing touch to one of the album’s standout tracks. A pairing which would inevitably occur, the duo are provided two Neptunes-produced scores (with Chuck producing a majority of the rest), which work intricately with the sleepy drawl of the Kids. ‘Summer Jam’ and ‘Get Right’ both encompass the trademark formats of the VA hitmakers, which should hopefully inspire a long term working partnership with the duo in future.

Even for all their charisma when going off one another, the Cool Kids still enlist help in the form of Asher Roth and Chip the Ripper on the cipher like ‘Roll Call,’ where the hired rhymers both drop too-cool-for-school verses which somewhat show up the Chicago kids for their limited rhymes.

Even with it’s short length When Fish Ride Bicycles still produces enough highlights to pass for a solid first studio offering. Although not as impressive or consistent as their debut The Bake Sale or their 2010 Tacklebox mixtape, what the Cool Kids do produce is a matched consistency of laid back, head nodding Hip Hop which fans will consume with much satisfaction. Although many are emerging who also salute the past eras of Hip Hop, Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish are the safest duo to put a bet on when searching for some timely Hip Hop which channels the spirit of the past which will forever remind those of how good it used to be.

The Cool Kids – When Fish Ride Bicycles
Released: July 12, 2011 (August, 22 in UK)
Label: Burnside
Buy: iTunes US / Amazon UK

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