Underground poster-boys of the moment Kidz In The Hall have been called the next Tribe by some and dismissed as hipster trash by others. They should all listen to The In Crowd before the next time they voice those opinions because as it turns out, both are very wrong. The duo does little to establish themselves as the heirs to the Native Tongue throne, nor are they an endless stream of SAT words and Japanese shoe references. No bold social commentary, no French disco samples: Naledge is a good rapper, Double-0 is a good producer and The In Crowd is a good album. That’s about it.
Naledge has a tendency to sound like whatever rapper he was listening to that morning and Double-0‘s production suffers from the same affliction. “Paper Trail” features Phonte of Little Brother so the Kidz go right into Minstrel Show mode. Miles away is “Drivin’ Down the Block” which feels like an ironic take on something or another but is possibly just a straight-up attempt at a commercial single. It’s enjoyable either way, but it’s hard to get a real gauge of what “Block” is meant to be. The title track is more direct with it’s “All Falls Down” style message for the ladies, but Double-0‘s blatant attempt at mimicking something from The Love Below only further muddles the album’s direction as a whole.
It might seem unfair to compare Kidz In The Hall to so many other artists but they really need to work harder to sound like Naledge & Double-0 instead of Buckshot & 9th Wonder, Big Boi & Andre or Kanye & Kanye. That doesn’t mean, however, that there’s nothing here worth listening to. The 70’s funk flavored “Snob Hop” with Camp Lo is a better take on the Camp Lo sound than anything the group itself has done since their debut. “Love Hangover” with Estelle has the most potential commercial success after “Drivin’ Down the Block” dies but fits their presumed style more accurately. There’s also the “Block” remix with Pusha T, The Cool Kids and Bun B who work better as a group than Naledge did alone.
There’s no telling why Kidz In The Hall have become the center of so much debate, but in reality, the discussion about their music is honestly more interesting than the music itself. The In Crowd is certainly worth checking out but it seems unlikely that anyone will still be talking about it six months from now. Pretty good; nothing more, nothing less.