Cool Kids & Don Cannon :: Gone Fishing ::
as reviewed by John-Michael Bond

Everyone knows that one dude who gets stoned and talks about the most seemingly inane bullshit for hours on end and yet still somehow manages to hold your attention and come across as the smartest cat in the room. It doesn't matter if the topic at hand is why the WWE matters more than the NFL in the realm of modern sports, how Halo is more important than Blade Runner, or any other topics you probably wouldn't find yourself talking about at any length in any other situation. One kind of assumes the Cool Kids are those dudes in their spare time based on the verses they keep dropping.

It seems like every other bar these guys write is based entirely on talking about watching basketball, playing video game basketball, or how as regular guys they're still just a tad flyer than everyone else around them. Considering the amount of gunplay, drug deals, and bravado most rappers talk about its interesting to think about counting repetition against other MC's, but seriously how many NBA 2k references can dudes get into 21 tracks without getting on your nerves? Apparently it's a hell of a lot, cause like your stoner buddy the Cool Kids ride seemingly pointless subject matter with a charisma and laidback thoughtfulness that will leave you not giving a damn about what they're saying as long as they don't stop.

"Gone Fishing" takes the group's mellow throwback snare and bass production and filters it through the Don Cannon's bombastic Southern bluster. At first the mix of the Kids soft spoken mumblings and Cannon's club ready shouting and self promotion is a jarring mix. Cannon isn't known for his subtlety and the Kids aren't known for their excitement. One screams vodka and red bull, the other mostly the sound track for rolling up a Swisher. But the differences are what makes magic happen on "Gone Fishing."

Cannon does his best to provide beats the Chicago duo will feel at home with, but like any good recipe a different cook can serve up familiar dishes with wildly different flavors. The end result here is a mishmash of percussion and keys that bring to mind the weaving grooves of Slick Rick's "The Great Adventures of Slick Rick" filtered through a haze of smoke. The change is just enough to take the kids out of their comfort-zones a bit, and into a field of shifting vocal tempo changes. While it might not seem like much more of a speed increase than going from walking to jogging might be when you've built up so much of your fan base on laid back delivery it's noticeable when you add some extra vigor to your tone.

Sadly while the record is full of colder than cold coolness that allows the otherwise questionably relevant subject matter of most of the tracks to ring with dynamic strength the Cool Kids get outshined here on the mixtape's best track, "Pennies." The track features an absolutely brutal upstaging from guest stars Ludacris and Bun B. Bun's first line is a reminder of B's well earned title of Under Ground King.

"I got a pocket full of profit and a wallet full of wonder
A brain full of brawn and a throat that's full of thunder
Luda likewise proves once again that he's one of hip-hop's most
underestimated vocalists with a vicious opening salvo of
Part II, my speakers fine like wine
Try and tell me to turn them down you out your motherfuckin' mind
Four fifteens enough to make the glass break
I hit the switch the car strips and makes its ass shake"

The number of quotables from the Cool Kids themselves however is minimal, but that's in no way an insult. Simply put, even when they're rapping about seeming nonsense Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish are story tellers. The Cool Kids don't write punchlines, they write whole tracks that capture your attention. In the name of brevity I'm not going to type out every lyric to a song. Frankly delivery is important here, and these Kids write some wordy tracks. Rest assured "Gone Fishing" is just the light snack to tide over fans until they finally drop "When Fish Ride Bicycles" sometime this year. Best of all it's a free snack. I'd happily pay for a record this good. You've got to ask yourself, if this is the stuff they've got to hand out for free what treats are they holding back for their debut long player?

Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10

Originally posted: June 9, 2009