The Cool Kids long-awaited album features old-school sound

Christopher Nguyen

The Cool Kids – Rush Hour Traffic by lecoupdulapin

Even in the world of hip-hop in which rappers boldly announce the release date of their forthcoming album only to push it back again and again, The Cool Kids tested the patience of hipsters and classic rap lovers with a three year gap between their EP, The Bake Sale, and their newly released full-length album, When Fish Ride Bicycles.

During that time there have been major changes in hip-hop, from the infiltration of Eurodisco to the acceptance of Drake-like tenderness; however, The Cool Kids’ sound has only budged a bit, maintaining their easeful, synth-heavy beats. Though the bpm rarely reaches above 100, all 11 tracks are club bangers and swagger heavy.

Largely self-produced by Chuck Inglish, one half of The Cool Kids, When Fish Ride Bicycles recalls ‘80s and early ‘90s days of rap, like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Free from novelty, the beats are bare. On “Gas Station,” the tip-tap driving of a drum, lo-fi menacing synths and a well-placed trill make up the song. While the album has a consistent sheen, many of the tracks utilize the same components for the beats, making them somewhat blend with each other.

What keeps the album fresh are the smooth flows of The Cool Kids and featured artists ranging from Ghostface Killah to Bun B. Mostly concerned with partying and just being damn cool, the lyrics aren’t ambitious, but they are witty, seen best on the defiant “Penny Hardaway.”

Though When Fish Ride Bicycles may not completely warrant the hype and wait, it’s a classic throwback perfect to play with the top down on the car, straight up “Nothin’ But a G-Thang” style.

Printed on 07/14/2011 as: Hip-hop album reminiscent of '80s rap