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The coolest kids you knew when you were younger always displayed a weird mastery of meaningless skills. Maybe they could win Contra without entering the secret 30-guy code, or maybe they could ride a wheelie for a whole block. Whatever their specialty was, their easy command of it, and their overall devotion to the cosmically insignificant, somehow enhanced their Zen-master aura of coolness.
The Cool Kids, two smirking teenagers hailing from Chicago and Detroit, understand this truth instinctively. On The Bake Sale EP, their first official release, they boast effortless control of a wide range of utterly trivial skill sets. They know, for instance, that when you rhyme over self-consciously retro electro-rap beats made on cheap software, it’s best to state your breakfast-cereal preferences early, and often (Fruity Pebbles receive special mention). They understand exactly how little should go into simple, Rick Rubin-aping tracks, but grasp how hard it is to make an interesting one (they knock out ten in a row here). And they have perfected the art of the old-skool rap quotable: “Did you know I made this beat with a mouth and a bell? That’s F-Y-I/ I’m F-L-Y/ And for those that can’t spell/ I’m a pretty swell guy.” Or how about: “It’s that sick, it gets sicker than the flu/ — enza, you tend to pretend I’m you/ So attend you a class on how to be cooler/ In fact I’m the superintendent of the school.”
Most importantly, they seem to understand just how long this sort of ironic costume-party fun lasts; the EP runs exactly 36 minutes, stopping precisely one second before the affectation starts grating. These kids, after all, were not yet out of diapers when the era they are insouciantly mimicking was in full force, and they know better than to stick around after the novelty of 19-year-old kids in dookie chains wears off. Thanks to their knack for such minutiae, The Bake Sale EP is one of the most outrageously fun party-rap records of the year.
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