"Black Mags" by The Cool Kids
The deafening buzz surrounding Chicago breakout act Cool Kids has already given way to an equally explosive backlash—and for once, the buzz and the backlash are equally justified. Cool Kids' smartass brand of trunk-rattling old-school braggadocio really does represent the ultimate triumph of style over substance, retro posturing over sonic innovation or penetrating social commentary. But The Bake Sale still kicks major ass. It's all about stripped-down, brawny minimalism and chest-thumping swagger that falls somewhere between early Run DMC and Clipse's Hell Hath No Fury. Like so many of the Kids' True School contemporaries, they're strip-mining hip-hop's rich past, but where their peers like to pretend they're lost members of the Native Tongues crew, the Cool Kids would rather be peddling bass-and-boast-heavy rhymes out of Too $hort's car circa 1988. From the monster first track, "What Up Man," onward, Cool Kids ain't saying nothing new, but they have a damn infectious way of saying it; they're charmingly obnoxious in the best possible way. Making disposable, self-aggrandizing fluff utterly irresistible is just one of many hip-hop traditions Cool Kids proudly uphold.