As I hopped on the Red Line heading to Reggie’s Rock Club, much of my emotions were drawn to the exclusive listening party I was about to attend with no idea in my mind of what I should expect. When I was much younger, I remember heading to Everyoneisfamous.com to view all the pictures of the ‘popping’ Chicago nightlife, making it a goal of mine to someday join the scene that seemed ‘anyone’ who is ‘anybody’ is a part of. After meeting people, eating mini pulled-pork sandwiches, playing basketball and swallowing the Cool Kids’ branded gummy fish, I didn’t feel like I reached my goal, but I was sure happy the day had finally come. The Cool Kids have had a similar ride to in some sense, except their journey was not to a party via the ‘L’, but an exasperating, disheartening, and ultimately discouraging five year ride to release their debut album. Similar to my situation, the day of release had come, and showed that there is more road to travel.
Through their ever so present and public experiences over the past five years trying to release When Fish Ride Bicycles, The Cool Kids did not fold. Whether it was dropping another substantive mixtape, popping up in Rhapsody or Nike commercials, or touring for months on end, Mikey & Chuck were in it to win it from the beginning. Sir Michael Rocks stated, “It’s easy to be happy when everything is cool, and sweet, it’s easy to make good music, have fun and be friends. But the real test is when sh*t gets going and you see who tucks their tail between their legs and run off, and who is really here to stay.” The fact that they endured the storm and finally found a way to release the album is a testament to the fact that Chuck & Mikey have mutual goals as musicians and understand the specific attitudes that must be maintained to reach these goals.
Since 2008 when the LP was first scheduled to drop, many publications and media outlets across the nation placed The Cool Kids in a certain box, as they ignited a specific style of “retro-rap” if you will, that created a lane for many new artists that were able to release albums and flourish as musicians while The Cool Kids album remained shelved like the obscure CD your uncle gave you for Christmas. “When you go through a tough time with someone, you really see the true colors and who is really down to ride…going through some sh*t that we went through it would have killed a lot of nigg*s, a lot of nigg*s would have broke up, fought, been in Source magazine doing diss articles, but that’s how I knew that we we’re supposed to be here,” spoke Sir Michael. And not only did they stay relevant in the quickly changing game, they were able to land an innovative record deal, linking with Mountain Dew Green Label Sound to release the long-awaited debut album. After working with the company for the single “Delivery Man” in 2008, the group felt very comfortable with the situation and when approached to do more work shortly after, they we’re ready to take it a notch higher.
Being the first to release an album with a soda company is not only new ground for The Cool Kids but the music industry as a whole. The same media outlets that claimed The Cool Kids missed their chance at a big break in 2008 when their buzz was the greatest, are the same one’s applauding their ground breaking deal with Mountain Dew. But blowing up is not a goal on their plate, as The Cool Kids simply want to continue to create next level material, working to evolve as musicians for many years to come. Being the first to embark on this innovative record deal we do not know whether it will ultimately lead to success for The Cool Kids, as record deals always look pretty from the outside looking in. Yet, if the long history of the music industry is to be taken into account, this inventive, avant-garde deal could be the future of the game as we know it. The Cool Kids talk about staying together, and the deal in the clip below. Also catch The Cool Kids on Friday night at Reggie’s for an official Lollapalooza After-Party. Watch the video interview on the next page.