I recently moved into Manhattan after being on the outskirts of the city for a while. And I’ve definitely stepped up my concert game. The shows have ranged from rap to electro to punk.

I would say my favorite show so far has been the free concert at Le Poisson Rouge with Cool Kids and Matt and Kim (Not just because it was free and open bar). The Cool Kids were great, proving to be the perfect appetizer of beats and rhymes for Brooklyn’s Matt and Kim. When they took the stage, there was no doubt who the crowd was here to see. My suggestion: if you’re ever able to catch Matt and Kim live, do it, don’t over think it, just buy the fucking ticket and prepare to rock out. The vid below will set your expectations.

Oh yea, if you’re bored tonight:

Matt and Kim
BROOKLYN NY@ Danbro Studio Warehouse

Matt and Kim – Silver Tiles

Check out this live clip of “Black Mags” from the Cool Kids’ set earlier this month at Knitting Factory. Even includes the segue into “Juicy” by B.I.G., which caused people to lose their shit. Should also give you a pretty good idea of just how packed the show was. Video is courtesy of one of our readers who goes by the handle DopeVideo88. Good looks!

I’d equate the Cool Kids set at Knitting Factory this past Saturday to a Slip ‘N Slide. The ride was fast and fun and chilled me out on a hot ass summer night. Moreover, as with that zany vinyl tarp, the show reminded me of the way things were back in the day…when hip hop was about having fun. In a crowded, sweltering club, Mikey Rocks and Chuck English turned a potential disaster into a memorable hip hop show.

During a set lasting about an hour, the Kids churned out songs from the recently released Bake Sale EP including “88,” “Black Mags,” “Gold and a Pager,” and my personal favorite “What It Is,” which got the whole place jumping. In a creative way to keep the crowd fired up, the duo even ran through a quick medley of old-school classics which featured B.I.G.’s “Juicy,” and Wu Tang’s “Ice Cream.” The show never felt rushed, as many rap concerts often do, and in keeping with the party vibe, dudes even invited a girl on stage to flaunt her freestyling chops (she did way better than I ever could).

Overall, I was most impressed with the Cool Kids’ laid back stage presence and demeanor, especially in light of the fact that Knitting Factory was hot as hell, and that they had recently arrived from a show earlier in the day in Philly. The guys genuinely seem like they’re having fun on stage, which can’t be said for many rappers. Maybe the Cool Kids really are just that cool.

And for God’s sake Knitting Factory, turn up the AC. For the hell of it, here’s the video for “Black Mags”:

Hip Hop is Alive

April 29, 2008

2008 could be the year that applies a defibrillator to the chest of hip hop, revitalizing a genre currently comatose amidst ringtone rap and Rick Ross. If I have to sit through another commercial threatening me to call and make Flo Rida my phone ring, I might put my head through a window. I find solace in the fact that this year will see releases by Kidz in the Hall, The Knux and Cool Kids, artists whose style and aesthetic hearkens back to the days when hip hop was about more than how many kilos you could push, it was about creativity and having fun.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been genuinely excited about a slate of hip hop releases. I grew up on rap and count De La Soul, Tribe, Pharcyde, Eric B. and Rakim and Big Daddy Kane among some of my favorite artists. These were artists whose fundamental priority was the progression of an art form and I believe the cats mentioned above, from Chicago, LA and Chicago respectively, have that same agenda. I’ve heard people call Cool Kids et al “hipster hop,” perhaps due to heavy stylistic and musical borrowing from 80s-era rap, or due to the amount of attention they’ve received recently in the blog community, but I’d equate these haters to those who originally called De La, Tribe and the Native Tongues Posse “hippie rap” back in the day. I’d love to see these kids usher in a new era for hip hip based on originality and leave cookie cutter club rap in its wake.

Here’s “Hard Days Night” by The Knux, a song that reminds me a bit of old-school Souls of Mischief:

Here’s “What It Iz” by the Cool Kids, which could easily be at home on the Juice soundtrack: