Originally Released 10th June 2008. This review was originally published on August 5th, 2008.
Reviews of The Bake Sale have tended to attach too much significance to a line early in proceedings during the child like mic-checking of One, Two on which Mikey Rocks, one half of the Chicago/Detroit duo known as The Cool Kids, raps lugubriously “It’s the new black version of The Beastie Boys” whilst a dime store Amiga loop bleeps stoned in the corner. At face value you can see why it’s such an easy rock to cling to; after all, the New Yorkers pretty much made the introductions between the music and it’s now predominantly white, teenage audience in the mid 1980’s, before confounding the critics and even themselves with the syncopated hubris of Paul’s Boutique.
A little thought though exposes the comparison for what it is; the reality is that good rappers have always made the best of whatever cultural detritus presented itself to them – more succinctly, whatever shit was at hand – but it’s highly unlikey that The Cool Kids would want to be directly associated with the Beastie’s in either their proto fratboy or more recent Dalai-loving hippy eras.
Regardless of whoever the duo are goofing off or listening to when they get up, it cannot be denied that The Bake Sale takes it’s main inspiration from a time when rap was still essentially street music, before the daisy age and Death Row. Fuelled by lo-fi breaks and the spluttering minimalist sounds of the cheap DIY studio, it’s mission is to reacquaint the listener with a time when it backdropped lot parties and lo-riding, The Kid’s outlook at all times not so much old school as old university. With Rock’s partner Chuck Inglish producing the nods come fast and sometimes very thick; What Is builds around a classic PE break, Gold And A Pager strips it’s refrain directly from NWA’s Fuck Tha Police, whilst Bassment Party borrows it’s undertow heavily from Afrika Bambaata’s electro pastiche Planet Rock.
Clearly nostalgia has it’s place, but if The Bake Sale was just an excercise in bringing the antiquated sound of 1988 to the masses then it’s a job that could just as easily be achieved by getting the Greatest old Hip Hop album…Ever. The good news is that Rocks and Inglish aren’t here just to pay tribute; showing a neat line in self deprecation on the dumb and dumberer Mikey Rocks, they then deftly apply a winning coup de grace on the ode to BMX Black Mags, with it’s cludgy three note bass and techno snare framing a low slung delivery which mocks the shotgun pellet flow of the modern game. Some things we dream about really aren’t worth remembering. The Cool Kids want to spin at your party nightmare.