The Cool Kids Clarify Their Early Image, Talk Growing As Peers With Drake & Kid Cudi

Exclusive: Chuck Inglish explains why he doesn't wear Jordans anymore, why people looked at the group's style before music, and how through a Mountain Dew deal, they're living the dream.

“The world does not want to hear you bitch.” This is what Chuck Inglish says to others who may be struggling. He’s had to face some struggles of his own, just to get his group, The Cool Kids, to get a proper release of their debut album. It has been a long time coming but the disc will finally drop next month.

When audiences first caught a glimpse of The Cool Kids peddling down streets in “dope man attire” for their introductory “Black Mags” single in 2007, no one knew that the group would be facing quite a tumultuous journey en route to their first full length album. With their debut When Fish Ride Bicycles finally being released in July, they’ve got a lot to celebrate.

With singles “Bundle Up” and “Swimsuits” currently making some noise, the duo is poised for what is sure to be an eventful summer. Recently, Chuck Inglish took some time out and spoke with HipHopDX about the importance of creative freedom, originality and more.  He shared his take on biters, perseverance and working with friends who happen to be well-known in the music industry, namely Bun B, Pharrell Williams and Travis Barker, who are featured on the group’s debut.

HipHopDX: The time that you had to work on this album allowed you to have a certain type of creative freedom. What has that creative freedom allowed you to do with your recording process in terms of improvement, experimentation, changes to verses and so on?

Chuck Inglish: I really believe it could have been the grace of God that we went through what we went through to protect our creative freedom. The fact that creative freedom is even an option is bullshit. Some groups don’t have creative freedom. Why the fuck would you sign an artist to tell them what to do? But that’s the world we’re living in. It bugs me out. All artists should have creative freedom. People don’t tell painters what to paint but for some reason, they try to tell rappers how to rap.

I think our time spent was to protect ourselves from all of the perils of the music industry. It allowed us to keep what we started. There is no third party. This is a two-man shit, to this day. I don’t have to listen to what anybody says but Mikey [Rocks]. If he don’t got a problem with it, it’s going down. I could care less who anybody else thinks they are. Nobody knows what we went through together but us. Nobody understands our shit but us. That’s why we had to develop something to where we’re like a whole ‘nother group now. We ain’t changed, but everybody’s perception... Like, [originally] we put out some shit just fucking around and it set our fate. This time, instead of looking at it like, “We were just fucking around, let’s keep fucking around,” we said, “Let’s get better.” We make 13-16 songs a week, not just beats. We’ve been on vacation with days off on tour, like in Australia. I’m in my part of the hotel room learning how to work this new software I bought and [Mike’s] been writing raps for three days straight. That’s the type of shit I look up and catch us doing. We would never give that up to nobody. I honestly would take a bullet or a bat to the face for that shit. I don’t think too many artists would. You can’t buy me. I don’t care about shit that much that I need that much money. I just gotta feed me and a couple bills I got. What I do, that shit’s easy. I would never give up that kind of freedom to anyone. That shit’s my number one priority. No one’s going to outthink me at my own shit. I know how to make my songs. This is why people know of us. It’s not like someone sent me here with a formula. Our formula is our shit.

DX: At the same time, this album is said to be different from anything you guys have done in the past. How important was it for you to go in and not only do something different from what others currently do but also different from what you usually do?

Chuck Inglish: I don’t believe my own hype, man. I actually don’t even like The Bake Sale. Anything out, within three months, I’m like, “Ah, I don’t want to hear that shit anymore.” It comes from being creative. There’s some shit I’ma like forever because it just happened that way. But, when you’re forming and building certain songs, there are some you just want to beat. Like, I don’t ever want to make “Black Mags 2.” I’m in constant competitions with what I did. I don’t want people to look up and say, “They’re getting lazy.” With this one, I got a little attitude in my head where I’m like, “Dog, there’s nobody better than us at what we do.” So, I don’t’ want to ease you into this new album to let you know that we’ve been progressing. I’m just going to explode this everywhere and see what happens.

With this album, I couldn’t have done anymore on it. They pretty much had to take it from me because I was going to continue to tweak it until I was blue in the face. Every single song on this, I made like a hundred times. We took the beat off, put the raps different; exercising every option I possibly could so I knew that from the first three seconds, you don’t even gotta worry about when the song’s going to kick in. We rap. I’m not trying to get my feelings out or none of that shit. I’m just trying to keep this feeling great like we did the first time.

This ain’t as lighthearted, goofy and about sneakers and shit because we’re not kids no more. That was like four years ago. I was like 21. My number one buying shit was going to the store and buying six or seven pairs of [Nike Air] Jordans. I don’t even wear Jordans like that no more. Ever since we started, the shit’s gotten out of control. Everybody got a pair of them bitches on. I was wearing them because there wasn’t that many left in the stores and they wasn’t upping the restocks. So, I could have a pair and I could walk in a party and there might be only one other person with them. I don’t like doing what other people do. I like doing what I like to do. Even with this record, this is definitely us. We weren’t listening to anyone else and you could definitely tell that shit.

DX: Funny that you mention the Jordans because you could also see it with the throwback gear, snapbacks and classic t-shirts. I remember you guys came out wearing the vintage gear and now…

Chuck Inglish: Oh yeah, we did that shit! It ain’t even a question. We did that shit. I remember being like, that’s all we were [to some]. I remember people’s write-ups were about us being a retro dressing Rap group. I was like, “Fuck that shit! That’s a horrible way to analyze music.” But now that everybody’s doing it, what if we came out now, not in 2006-2007? We’d probably be on a grander scale because people would care more about the music. I know we did that first because that was like the only thing people would say about us, like “Style this. Style that. Retro this. Retro that.” We didn’t think people would take after that, so much so that you don’t even know where it comes from. It’s so crazy now that people don’t even know that we were doing that shit. We had them hats when nobody could find them. They weren’t remaking the hats with the tags. We had to find them bitches with the tags. I’m not tripping. You don’t do anything and have a profile and not expect that somebody might feel like you or someone might bite your ass. There’s hella sharks, man. Our next album is called, Shark Week. We’re building a world of people that refuse to think on their own.

I think all day. Sometimes that’s not the best thing to do because you can stress yourself out. But I’m never out of shit. That’s pretty much been my life. So, when you do something and you’re like, “Yeah, I did that shit. I’m the first one on it.” Even if you can sense that somebody felt like you and had the same shit on that you do, you don’t see the biting in that. It’s just like, “Oh, okay. You got on there when I got there.” Then there’s people that just sit and wait for you to do shit so they could do it. Like, “He did it so it’s cool.” People wasn’t wearing old sports tank tops and shit until we were doing it. Now, it’s cool. They’re like, “We could do that because now niggas ain’t gonna clown us ‘cause the Cool Kids did it first.”

DX: You guys worked with Travis Barker, Pharrell Williams, Ghostface and Bun B among others on this album. What’s one of the most interesting, influential or memorable moments you had while recording with guests for this one?

Chuck Inglish: I lived out a definite dream while working with Travis Barker. We pretty much bounced back and forth from Chicago to North Hollywood, California, where Travis works at, all last year. We would just click up with him at this taco spot by his studio. So, even if we wasn’t working, we were just falling through, kicking it, rolling up a couple and getting these tacos! I remember one day, I sat down on the drums and Travis was on the percussions. We had a jam session for like a half hour. I’ve been a drummer. I started playing drums when I was six. I’ve looked up to every famous drummer. I listen to drum albums. I obsess over drumming. I started making beats because I couldn’t take my drums to school. So, to do that with a living great, Travis is one of the living greats. What Travis Barker could do on the drums, he’s like a John Bonham of our time, like The Funky Drummer, like James Brown’s drummer, like, he’s that dude right now. To actually sit down and jam with him…that was just cool. Also, sitting there with Pharrell asking me what I thought, or building a beat and letting me put that shit together. That’s crazy because four or five years ago, I was looking at other people doing that shit going crazy like, “I can’t wait to do some shit like that!” Before I looked up, I was doing it and doing it on my own with people I knew and they knew me! They knew me, too! To them, I was kind of where they were at. That shit’s still bugged out. In my head, I will always be the little kid that I’ve always been.

I still look up to them. Everybody on my album, I look up to. I’ve become friends with them. It wasn’t a business collaboration because I don’t believe in that shit. I have never featured on anybody’s song that I didn’t know personally. When we went down to Houston, Bun B would come to pick us up from the hotel, we would smoke, go get food, get haircuts, you know what I’m saying? It was never like, “We just need you on the album.” It’s like, “No, we went to your birthday party. We know your kids and all that shit.” It becomes way more natural. So, everybody on the record is family. Mayer Hawthorne, we’re homeboys. He’s from Michigan, too, like me. We like the same music. First conversation we had was about boogie records, a text message thread that went on for like three days.

I like that. I like that that’s what we can do. Back to your point about creative freedom, I like that that’s what we can do. Nothing on our record is forced. Every single song is the best of a group of ten songs we did in one session. We make so much music, there are no album cuts. This is just all the best shit we’ve made in the past three years, like a greatest hits record of shit people haven’t ever heard before.

It’s been a great experience and now that it’s actually coming true, I can actually sit back and think about memories and what it will be like going forward, too. We’re three quarters into the recording of this second album.  That shit’s going to be crazier than this. This was just getting it out of the way so we could live, so we could get out of our deal and so that we could actually put shit out. Now that we get to put shit out, I’m about to go crazy.

DX: It’s been quite a journey to get this album out. What element of this experience are you most proud of?

Chuck Inglish: Not losing my mind, not looking at people around me, seeing what they were doing and comparing them to me. At one point, I was on. Drake and Kid Cudi were homies of mine. I was telling them about what I was doing. Then, we kind of hit our shit and then all my homies blow the fuck up, you know what I’m saying? Blow the fuck up, to the point where now I might talk to them every now and then. I didn’t ever look at my situation and compared it to theirs like, “What the fuck are we doing wrong?” I always just stuck to my shit. That’s not my life anyway. I was never like that. I don’t thrive for the spotlight. I like going into the grocery store and niggas not even knowing me. That’s perfect. I like that shit.

But, when you look at your music like, “Damn, I’ve been working so hard and ain’t nobody working harder than me,” you just keep working. You don’t look up like, “Damn. Why ain’t shit crackin’?” Shit was always crackin’! We did little commercials here and there, we had mixtapes, people knew we weren’t gonna drop nothin’ wack. To have that perception, where people know that if you’re going to do something new, it’s going to be better than the last shit, that was the only rope I had to hang on. I hung onto that motherfucker. I just didn’t look at my situation negatively. Yeah, I complained, but look what happened! It’s coming out! It came out in a way that I couldn’t even imagine. I got the best deal any artist could ever get. I got a soft drink company to put out my record and give me all my money! That’s persevering without complaining because the world does not want to hear you bitch. No matter what you think, there’s no one in the world that wants to hear your problems when they’ve got their own, especially when you’re living out what you want to do. Why would I complain? I’m doing what I’ve dreamed of. I can go somewhere and play the drums every single day.

What I do all day is, I meet up with Alchemist. I make beats in the B room, he makes beats in the A room and we’ll go eat. I get to do that. That’s all I wanted to do my whole life. When you look at the small shit and survey your scene, nothing’s wrong. I’m about to put out a record. Kids still fuck with us heavy. There’s kids that don’t even know of us! There’s kids that know the groups that are modeled after us and don’t even know about us. This might be the first shit they ever hear. Then they might go back to get The Bake Sale and that might fuck them up. All of those options are good scenarios. That’s what I’ve learned. No matter what, don’t bitch. Keep working, man, just go. Nothing is going to be perfect. Nothing works out for everybody the way they intended. Sometimes shit gets shitty just so it can get really good. I feel like this is a great example of shitty for something great in the end.

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29 Comments

  • ceejransom

    Cool Kids are dope but did he really claim to make Jordans popular? Come on bro get real.

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  • Angel Xavier De Peña

    Why do you MEN care about what other MEN are wearing? Go to Lady Gaga's official site to talk that garbage you homos

  • noeworld7

    The Cool Kids are pretty sick, they started the retro shit, follow me on twitter.com/noeworld7

  • indigo_kuush

    damn shutup already you fuckin females. These dudes do their thing, and theres a lot of knowledge in this interview so maybe listen up instead of taking every opportunity to hate on successful people anonymously through the internet, fuckin pussies. here an idea, get some fuckin intelligence in your tiny ass brains and shit the fuck up.

  • joseXhouston

    nothing but respect. keep they good shit coming

  • CK

    Good to see everybody talking shit about the Cool Kids in here.. they already have their core group of fans in place, who like them for the musical style and for the real as dudes that they are.. I can't wait for the album and if you're not with it go back to listening to some more of that same generic music everyone listens to, wearing the same old shit the media tells you to wear and stanning the fuck outta some talentless clowns

  • Juan

    How can you say that the man wasn't one of the innovators of the retro movement? It wasn't retro when he was a kid, it was normal. And he kept wearing shit like that when he was older when styles changed.

  • Anonymous

    What is their talent?....can't rap can't dance.....oh I know their talent is too make money.........

  • Anonymous

    the way these stupid motherfuckers talk you think they fucking invented air jordans every second of this interview I was just like SHUT THE FUCK UP

  • Angel Xavier De Peña

    You aren't blowing up because no self-respecting man wants to listen to some niggas who call themselves "The Cool Kids" You're fucking corny and WHACK. GTFO

    • Angel Xavier De Peña

      What separates The Cool Kids from Drake and Lil' Wayne? Please tell me. It must be because they aren't popular because I KNOW if these faggots were the hottest rappers out you nerds would HATE them with a passion. Go kill yourself you nonconformist little fuck boy.

    • Anonymous

      Hey Angel, go listen to drake and lil wayne.

  • cream

    i literally started laughing out loud when dude said he started the retro jersey trend. that shit was happening when dude this nigga was in elementary school hahahahahahah.these dudes think they so fucking cutting edge and creative. they r the fuckin biters wit ther styl

  • Papa Don

    is it rap or is it style cause yall cant rap and yall pants is too tight this is a real nigga game tired of you colorful ass niggas in the rap game

    • Anonymous

      Then go somewhere else you stupid fuckstick. These "colorful ass niggas" are gonna be in the game for a good while, whether its the Cool Kids or anybody else.

  • Christian Livingbible

    This new rap is different and funny being in my early 30s i don't really understand this music but older people never understood what i was listening to may be i am getting old. Share website it has changed my life and my families. Now I am trying to get my friends to go and find out more about God www.christianlivingbible.com Love God and Love your Neighbors (all Humans) Matthew 5-7 and Exodus 20 God bless u and obey. www.christianlivingbible.com God loves you and everyone around you pass this on because you care about people like God cares about you www.christianlivingbible.com Please love God and become his property take ownership away from the flesh and the world and give it to God www.christianlivingbible.com

  • LandryWade

    I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, GetCent .c om

  • LandryWade

    I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, GetCent.com

  • Anonymous

    http://www.youtube.com/user/305ilovemia#p/a/u/0/M3lVYTjjrv8 IM DA s**tAND I DONT NEED A TOILET OUT AND ABOUT..ALL ABOUT..STRICTLY BUSINESS http://www.youtube.com/user/305ilovemia#p/u/4/OQyVQ5lNMds GET LACED

  • Anonymous

    Cook kids started all that snapback jerseys jordan shit rockin it tough as fuck before it became "cool" tyga the main one who bitch about niggas bein on snapbacks now he wasnt even doin that shit before the cool kids nigga!

  • Dexter Caffee

    always loved the cool kids

  • daddy01

    props to the Cool Kids for doing what they enjoy.

  • Anonymous

    Nigga, you dont like doing what other people do. So you decided to stop wearing Jordans. Good Call dumbass. Cuz just about every rapper / listener has about 15 pairs of Jordans. You wanna Innovate well you should be 15000 miles from Jordans by now if that's supposed to be your "Thing" to be different.

  • R.C.

    the cool kids are definitely dope. cant wait to hear the album.

  • Cambridge

    Fucking dope, man I can't wait to hear this. People sleep on the Cool Kids, the same niggas that fund those 10 deep tanks and those mitchell and ness snapbacks. You see these guys everywhere now. Pay homage. Cool kids are dope. I can't wait to see these niggas when I get big.

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