Review ·

It’s been nearly four years since Cool Kids announced themselves as rap’s most vocal throwback nostalgia act, discussing their preference in bike parts on “Black Mags.” It’s been three years since Cool Kids issued their debut EP, The Bake Sale, an EP that was supposed to be a warm up to their inevitable debut LP, the same year that they released a single (“Delivery Man”) on Mountain Dew’s Green Label Sound. It’s been two years since Gone Fishin, the group’s finest long-form statement to date, the mixtape produced by mixtape heavyweight Don Cannon that was intended to preview the group’s “almost finished” debut LP, When Fish Ride Bicycles. It’s been nine months since the group announced they were free from Chocolate Industries, their longtime label, and saying they were “ready” for When Fish Ride Bicycles. It’s been five months since the Cool Kids announced that they were back in the loving arms of Green Label Sound, and would be dropping When Fish Ride Bicycles “soon.”


And now, it’s arrived. The Detox of the indie rap set, the Chinese Democracy of throwback boom-bap. Of everything you can say about Cool Kids, know this: When Fish Ride Bicycles exists. It’s got 11 songs, and one of them is named after Penny Hardaway. There’s even a superfluous Asher Roth cameo, and it was recorded with Pharrell Williams, in case you forgot that this is made with some corporate backing. When Fish Ride Bicycles exists, roughly 36 months after its arrival would have made SEO bucks, and when mags like Rolling Stone were still sniffing around. So in some ways, Cool Kids beat the Internet hype cycle by subverting it: You can’t call them a bust because they’ve outlasted all challengers by refusing to play. Kid Sister? Done. Kidz In the Hall? Done. Pac Div? Who? And here stand the Cool Kids, with a debut LP in tow.


But here’s the thing: the problems of 2011’s When Fish Ride Bicycles are the same problems that 2008’s theoretical When Fish Ride Bicycles would have had. As charming as they are in videos, Cool Kids are personality deficient, with both MCs relying on shout-outs to NBA Jam-era ballers (though a Larry Johnson “grandma-ma” reference is sublime), talking about physical properties of speakers (they go boom, more or less) and the summer, and rhyming more monotone than Dharma Initiative instruction videos. And once you figure out the essential thesis of their beats—that Eric B and Rakim perfected forever how hip-hop should sound—they start coming off as hip-hop’s answer to slowcore: Never changing, and moving like a glacier.


Which isn’t to say that Cool Kids were never deserving of the hype: Of course they were. Think back on the dire state of hip-hop circa 2007, and think how awesome it was that two Midwest dudes were “bringing ‘88 back.”  When Fish Ride Bicycles occasionally rekindles that original spark, with the funky Neptunes-esque summer time jam “Get Right,” the bottom-heavy “Rush Hour Traffic” and “Bundle Up” and the Travis Barker-assisted “Sour Apples.” The far and away highlight here is “Penny Hardaway,” a video game soundtrack placement ready Kung-fu jam that has a delirious verse from Ghostface Killah, who is like an imploding supernova in the middle of the album, consuming everything around him. 


Basically, your enjoyment of When Fish Ride Bicycles comes down to whether or not you’re willing to take 11 songs featuring beats of essentially the same tempo, lyrics that aren’t anyone’s definition of transcendent, and a style that, at best, is a shadow of stuff from the mid-‘80s. In some ways, When Fish Ride Bicycles represents an important evolution in hip-hop, in that it shows that careers can be built on nostalgia for old sounds, in the same ways that indie bands are making a living off their Depeche Mode record collection. When Fish Ride Bicycles was probably never going to be as good as hearing “Black Mags” for the first time, but no one could have bet that it would be this boring.






  • Rush Hour Traffic
  • GMC
  • Boomin' (featuring Tennille)
  • Sour Apples (featuring Travis Barker)
  • Penny Hardaway (featuring Ghostface Killah)
  • Bundle Up
  • Gas Station (featuring Bun B)
  • Get Right
  • Swimsuits (featuring Mayer Hawthorne)
  • Roll Call (featuring Asher Roth, Chip Tha Ripper, Boldy James)
  • Summer Jam (featuring Maxine Ashley), Produced by Pharrell Williams

It has quickly become the indie-rap's answer to Detox, but unlike Dr. Dre, the Cool Kids have Mountain Dew breathing down their neck: the Midwest boom-bap revivalists are set to finally, FINALLY, release their long-awaited debut LP, When Fish Ride Bicycles, on Green Label Sound. The Cool Kids have been on the periphery of the net since 2007 when their "Black Mags" was a modest hit. They promised an LP "soon" but instead released two mixtapes (Bake Sale and Gone Fishin') and worked the road hard, performing at many festivals and on headlining tours. But they've finally committed to a hard release date and a track list: It's due on July 12, and seems to be comprised of new tracks, including a promising one featuring Ghostface Killah called "Penny Hardaway." Mayer Hawhorne, Chip Tha Ripper, Bun B, Travis Barker, Asher Roth and others guest. 

Big K.R.I.T. - R4 The Prequel TOKiMONSTA Creature Dreams

dec 29, 2009? are you kidding me? they need to get their album out beefore their hype dies down


Sorry tap. That's a glitch in the system. When there is not a confirmed release date, the system defaults to December 29.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

thats good, it better come out soon
originally it was coming out before 2009


Good to hear that Daba, This really needs to drop soon. I just saw a video for pennies, so maybe in month or two we'll have a release date. Chuck Inglish's beats are amazing.


yeah man that release date scared me for a sec


i realllllllllllly hope they push that date up, what are they even waiting for?


f#*k that. i'll be stoked if they can keep it bangin. gone fishin can't rise from its laid back stat, still they can't smooth it out like snoop. for perspective: they're young...but so is wheezy.


Its gonna be real hard to top The Bake Sale


okay. it's 2010. where in the hell is this album?


the albums not comin out until this summer now, but is gunna be dope


Yo mikey and chick are dope as hell. I don't care when this album drops as long as they keep releasing mixtapes and singles. I don't want them to turn into that radio sh!t you hear everywhere, stay tru to the roots


you twat, its mikey and chuck, not 'chick' how ******** dumb are you?


The "i" is right next to the "u", you insufferable tard.


yo i watched a vid with the kids and travis barker!!! sick right?? i can't wait for this album


This album needs to drop already.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Andrew_Martin/me.jpg Andrew_Martin

WE need it to drop asap son! Gonna be the heat. Check them at Brooklyn Afro Punk Festival performing

the ice cream man

There hype died. The mixtapes killed them. This albums a year late, maybe more.


that tacklebox tape was pretty tech, love the beats on flying kytes!!!

Mike steez+

2011 now. If you think their hype died you don't know anything. Cool Kids are still one of the dopest in the game.


Chuck tweeted its comin out june. Its finally here!


Album cover art and track list added. Release date now set for July 12, 2011.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

Pure music, more polished than 98 percent of all current hip hop. Focused, and well worth the wait. Quit sleeping on these blazers.


Dope album, if you enjoyed them three years ago you still will today.


Wow. For One. You Forgot To Mention That's Stupid Mixtape, Merry Christmas, And The Most Recent "Long-Form Statement" Is Tackle Box...
i Hate That Since Bake Sale Came Out. Everybody Just Wants Those Same Beats, Same Rhymes, Same Style. They Have Came A Long Way From That.
They Cant Rap The Same Way Forever. If Anything They Have Matured. And What They're Puttin Out. A Real Cool Kid Fan Would Love. WFRB Is Worth More Than That 6 Rating...


c'mon son... you're sleeping on the album, they not tryna bring yout bring your favorite era back, jus dope beats, and dope rhymes


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