The notion that McEnroe and Birdapres “hunt for beats,” as the cut-up sample explains from “Break Merchant,” is most definitely clear, not only because they speak of it, but because the breaks and loops on Nothing is Cool are prime choice. The Vancouver-based emcees have the hip-hop production end down; now it’s just a matter of developing an album of lyrics that don’t sound like the kid in the corner of the room nitpicking at everyone else in it. I often identify well with such antics, but I wouldn’t use studio time to do it.
On the title track, the two do their damnedest to pull down anything that’s made it to mainstream hip-hop radio. Why not focus this brand of criticism so the final product is a balanced indictment of the watered-down idiocy that usually does end up in the spotlight instead of taking half-baked jabs at it? McEnroe and Birdapres roll over their respectable beats with confidence and great effort, but the lyrical end isn’t sturdy enough, and some of it is as silly as the “nothing is cool” concept itself. There’s plenty of cool here, but sharpening the coolness would make it even cooler, dude.