When you encounter something that’s truly refreshing, it can become intoxicating. Countless amount of times an individual will see, read, or hear some variation of the word “original” by a plethora of rappers. But when The Cool Kids were born in 2007, that’s what they truly were—two young kids who looked like they were born a couple of decades too early, finding a niche and thriving in it. Powered by a drum machine and their bold fashion, Sir Michael Rocks and Chuck Inglish, two young whippersnappers from the Midwest, had hip-hop’s underground at full attention. Then without notice, they broke up.
Though their friendship never ended, The Cool Kids were no more, and fans were left scratching their heads. Throughout the time since the split, however, Michael and Chuck honed their crafts, worked on solo projects and grew up, not only as artists, but as men. When news broke that a new Cool Kids project was on the way, it not only delighted the fans, but also peers like Tyler, The Creator, who took to Twitter to show his excitement. XXL got Michael and Chuck on the phone to discuss their upcoming album, titled Shark Week, people biting their style and what has changed since the split. —Emmanuel C.M. (@ECM_LP)
XXL: Why reunite now?
Sir Michael Rocks: Well, initially when me and Chuck created The Cool Kids back in ’07, we came up with this plan to live by the Wu-Tang type of theory that they had. Wu-Tang had a big group, bunch of members, everybody broke off and did solo stuff, and then they came and did group stuff as well that was also super successful. We figured that in the beginning we had that conversation that we would start off as this group, do solo stuff and then when the time was right after and we felt it in our hearts, we’d link back up as The Cool Kids. People are ready for it. It has its own place in the ranks and it feels like a good time.
Chuck Inglish: We’re just in a different place and time in life, and it was a part of us that just had to sit down for a second. We just did a lot. We went through a lot of shit together. So at that point in time, we saw each other as better friends then we were a group, so it was like, we don’t even want to do this right now. So two years later, we realized how much fun we had doing what we did. It made music fun. And for a while it wasn’t fun, so we figured out the recipe to keep the fun happening. And now it’s better timing and people saw what we did before and people learned to respect it and it grew in value with time. We got more control on what we’re doing now. We’re the only ones doing it. We drop songs when we want to. I have a solo situation, [Michael] has a solo situation. We just do what we do best that’s fun. So it alleviates a lot of creative stress on us.
Do people still need The Cool Kids?
SMR: I feel like the state of music right now is an open format. There are different looks now, different ways of handling your rap business and putting out music. Different ways of becoming a star. And it’s only getting more and more like this. Which is a good thing to me. Now would be a good time to re-emerge with our original idea. I was 16 [when we started] and it was a lot for a 16-year-old to really handle. We were growing up in front of the world. We took our time to develop our sound and let shit breathe for a minute, because we came in and everybody started biting and it was just weird, man. We still have honor, we still have our values we came in with. So when people started biting a lot, it was like, okay, let’s back off for a minute, let’s throw them off our trail. We waited for the right time, now we’re going to strike.
How have you guys grown in the past few years?
CI: I’m not living in a different state. The Cool Kids is like this hobby for me. I love rapping, but [I’m] also a musician and I would love to show range. So that’s what I did with the solo record. I learned a lot. So now when I’m stressed out or mastering a solo record or going through a session where a lot of different instrumental players [are involved], you want a break, and you want to do something that reminds you of why this shit is fun. And we set it up so we always have an outlet with The Cool Kids. If you’re a fan now you should be excited because we’re having the most fun now recording new shit than we ever had.
SMR: We’re still us, but we just had a lot of time and different opportunities to better ourselves, work on our music, get better at being stars and rappers and producers. It’s not going to be the exact same; that would be a disservice. When you try to create the same thing twice it’s never the same. The world doesn’t allow you to remain the exact same. We are not the same people as when we first emerged, so it won’t be the same, it would be better. We’re more focused as artists and as men. But we’ll always maintain the same integrity and passion and love for this as we first did and probably even more.
What can we expect from Shark Week?
CI: The title is a tongue in cheek title. It’s called Shark Week because we’ve been bit the most. Everything that we did seemed to catch on, so we’re just making a record saying we still are the originators, we still had the idea to bring this level or this sound or keep this look that people tried. But you can’t reinvent the wheel. It’s something we came up with probably in 2010 and we didn’t get the chance to finish it. We just had to let the ideas build back up, so once that happened it was all good.
SMR: Shark Week is underway, we got about four tracks so far. But with us, especially with our solo stuff we did, we had a lot of practice to write. So we’re way quicker now. When we were working on solo stuff when you have to write a whole song by yourself, writing one verse and having your partner write the other verse is like baby food. This album will be done pretty quickly. We’re just waiting for the right opportunities to record. Were not like rap slaves who lock themselves in the studio for like 38 weeks and just never leave and it’s dark and you’re recording 10 songs a day. We do our own shit, we make our own terms. We like to record in good situations and when the timing is right. It’s all about timing. Next time we record we want to be on the beach somewhere and record more of this shit. And it won’t take us long, probably like two weeks to do this album, max, then we mix and master it. Basically we’re just waiting for a different opportunity to record together and record on our own terms. When we feel it’s right.