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The Sound

An Inglish lesson

12/4/2013

Chuck Inglish plays at House of Bricks on Friday, Dec 6.

Chuck Inglish plays at House of Bricks on Friday, Dec 6.

We’ll just get this out of the way at the front: Chuck Inglish used to be one of The Cool Kids.

Everyone’s love of a good pun properly sated, it’s time to talk about why it’s probably better for Inglish that he’s on his own. The Cool Kids (Inglish and Sir Michael Rocks) were a harmonious duo. They might have been groundbreaking more because of their style over any kind of substance, but there’s no denying they were capable of spitting some pretty decent rhymes when the situation arose. But theirs was a collaboration that bordered on symbiosis. You never got the impression that either member was capable of being a true standard bearer if called upon. In short, the fact that the two men worked so well together held them both back as individual performers. Now that The Cool Kids has disbanded so the two rappers can focus on solo projects, Inglish is setting out to change that.

“That’s the reason why I’m doing things on my own,” he said in an interview. “Because (Rocks has) always been there to bail me out. Like if I had a beat, and I didn’t have a rap, he’d have a rap. If I had a rap and didn’t have a hook, he’d have a hook. If I was on stage and forgot half my rhyme, he’d know it. That was not gonna make me the greatest that I want to be. I have to be able to handle that on my own.”

It’s been a slow transition. Rocks took off and has produced a steady stream of mixtapes and singles since the group parted ways in 2011. Inglish, on the other hand, spent time behind the scenes, producing for other artists, lending beats to a few others, even acting a little: Inglish popped up in an episode of Fuse TV’s “The Hustle.”

“I think the writer, Prentice Perry, really liked The Cool Kids and figured that in a show with a new rap group, they should be working with me,” he said. “He made me look cool, and that was the first time I acted. To act as yourself when they write lines for stuff you are supposed to say, that you wouldn’t say, is kind of interesting.”

But now, Inglish is hitting the road hard. This spring, he dropped his “Droptops” mixtape, and in February, he’ll release his first solo album, “Convertible.” And while most artists will use an EP to set up an LP’s release, Inglish has intentionally made “Droptops” and “Convertible” as disparate as possible.

“(‘Droptops’) was like a soft left jab for a right hook,” he explained. “Like, it has nothing to do with ‘Convertibles’ at all. I just felt music is kind of changing, and a lot of rap is very epic. There’s a lot of strings, chords, soundtrack-sounding shit, and for the people that grew up like me, you just want some shit you can put in your car and ride out to. I did ‘Droptops’ in three weeks; ‘Convertibles’ has taken three years.”

Three years in the making, and it’s a wait that Inglish believes will be worth it. Inglish feels like he’s grown as an artist, and he and Rocks are both better artists than when they started. But in his heart, Inglish will always be a Cool Kid.

“That dude (Rocks) means more to me than The Cool Kids. If he wants to do something, I’m going to be there. I got to be on every single one of his projects.” CV

Jokers