THE COOL KIDS with the CARPS , RORY THEM FINEST and AD/D at the Mod Club Theatre (722 College), Friday (July 20). $8 before 11 pm, $10 after. www.addevents.com. Rating: NNNNN
You're probably all sick of hearing about the impending collapse of the traditional music industry and how the Internet has changed the game, but how can you avoid talking about it when it seems like half the hottest new buzz acts don't even have a record out but are still getting tons of play in clubs and on MP3 players all over the world?
Chicago hiphop duo the Cool Kids (aka Chuck and Mikey) fit perfectly into this new paradigm. They're hyped up and about to blow up across the world and seem quite cheerful about their lack of a record deal and or sellable product.
"We do a lot of shows with different people, and everyone else is selling albums and merchandise after, but we just leave because we don't have anything to sell," says Mikey from his Chicago home. "A lot of the time we're the headlining act, and to do that is really funny. We're kind of playing it like that on purpose until we have our product together -- right now we don't mind."
Internet fame doesn't always mean the music is any good, though, and there are reasons to be suspicious of the kind of hiphop that indie-rock blogs love. Thankfully, the Cool Kids actually have the beats and rhymes to live up to the buzz.
But while Mikey does seem pleasantly bemused at the variety of people who come out to their shows ("from punks to hiphop heads"), he's not so pleased about being lumped into the hipster scene.
"We've been classified as 'hipster-hop' before, and I don't really like the word hipster. It seems like hipsters are always looking for the next new thing -- if it hasn't popped yet or blown up yet they want to be on that, but then they're on to the next thing before it gets out of the gate. A hipster is a person who's just looking for whatever is underground and cool for the minute."
In a strange paradox, the other way they tend to get mislabelled is as some kind of retro hiphop group, which just doesn't make sense once you hear the beats. Maybe it was the references to 80s cultural touchstones in some of the lyrics, but it's not like they're copping their flow from the Sugarhill Gang or something.
"I think it's because when we first started getting noticed, we had on gold ropes -- they saw the gold ropes and big glasses and just assumed retro."