Album Review: Kidz In The Hall – The In Crowd

Andrew Barber 0

Duck Down Records/Major League Entertainment, 2008

The Kidz In The Hall return with their sophomore project, The In Crowd, via Duck Down Records. Buzz for this project has been gaining momentum for months, stretching from the hipster, to backpack to TRL crowd. Do they live up to the hype and pass the test, or are they headed straight to detention? Take a look at the official FSD review and find out (Did you catch all of those school references there? Cheesy? Zing?)

Black Out (Feat. DJ GI Joe)

The high energy nod to Eric B & Rakim’s classic soundtrack banger “Know The Ledge”. Come to think of it, Naledge and Double-O are kind of a throwback to the Eric B & Rakim producer/rapper combo from the Golden Era – except Double-O actually produces the tracks. You’ve got the Juice now, Naledge.

Paper Trail (Feat. Phonte)

The beat is serious on this one. I will have to say that even though I thoroughly enjoyed School Was My Hustle, Double-O really stepped up his production game on this one. Phonte kicks a regular Phonte. Solid track.

Drivin’ Down The Block (The Low End Theory)

The big first single that has given the Kidz their first crossover hit – and is making noise on major outlets like TRL.

Sidenote: Last August I told Chuck Inglish from the Cool Kids that he should sample Masta Ace’s “Born to Roll” for one of their new tracks, in particular the “Black boy, black boy, turn that ish down” line. Turns out Naledge and Double-O were ahead of me on this one.

Lucifer’s Joyride (Feat. Travis McCoy)

I guess a vocoder track is pretty much par for the course these days, no?

Snob Hop (Feat. Camp Lo)

“It’s the Snob Hop, It’s the Snob Hop” – Hmm….Haven’t I heard a similar chorus somewhere else on this album? I kid, I kid. Pairing with another of my favorite duos, Camp Lo, who created one of my favorite albums of all time (Uptown Saturday Night). The Kidz get big credit for featuring these guys here. Naledge eats the last verse alive too: “I rap like an 8 on its side, infinite, rhyme chemist/Yeah I make bills sort of like the Senate,/while you promote beef – Ronald and Grimace”

Also, I like the nod to another classic duo – Black Sheep.

Mr. Alladatshit (Feat. Donnis & Chip Tha Ripper)

This track is flyer than giraffe pussy, indeed. Donnis receives 1000 points for a “Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego” reference (word to Rockapella. Ayo?) . Very soulful track too.

Love Hangover (Feat. Estelle)

Naledge is talking some marriage stuff at the very beginning here – Wowzers! The UK’s Estelle assists on the hook here – and the track definitely has that British feel to it. Double-O’s production is super diverse – like to the point where you wouldn’t know he did every track unless you read the credits. And yes, I very much like that about him.

Let Your Hair Down (Feat. Skyzoo & Lil Eddie)

Who the F is Lil Eddie? Who cares – this track is hot! “Let me get inside stuff like Ahmad Rashad”

Middle of the Map Part I (Feat. Fooch)

Nick Stylez…er…Fooch jumps on this on this one, and he’s kind of a beast. This is the lone track handled by an outside producer, the one and only Black Milk. I like the concept of this track because at the end…

Middle of the Map Part II (Feat. Black Milk & Guilty Simpson)

…Double-O jumps in and wants to flip the sample his own way, thus birthing “Middle of the Map Part II”. He lets Black Milk spit on his version, and Guilty Simpson jumps on the track as well. Like a said, an original concept.

The In Crowd

A spin on the album title. Naledge tells a couple stories of a black and white girls lost here. The only thing he forgot to mention about the white girl is that she probably wore a crusty pair of all white K-Swiss sneakers. Actually, I guarantee it. I do respect his attention to detail here though.

The Pledge (Feat. Sean Price and Buckshot)

The Duck Down posse cut, on a Duck Down release that doesn’t sound at all like a Duck Down album. I might also add that I’m one of the biggest Sean Price fans around, but I found it hard to hear his verse clearly – is he mumbling or is the mixing off? Naledge is particularly on point here, detailing his rise to where he is now. He ‘s really repping for the everyday man.

Inner Me

Wow – now this is one hell of a way to end the album. A nice little introspective tune.

“Mom say get a J-O-B/Dad say take the G.R.E./My girl keep whisperin’ ‘when you gon marry me?’/Thought of a 9 to 5 keeps scarin me”

I feel you.

Drivin Down The Block (Remix) (Feat. Bun-B, Pusha T & The Cool Kids)

You’ve heard this one. I want to see a video.

In conclusion: I believe The In Crowd just surpassed The Roots Rising Down as my favorite album of 2008 so far. As I mentioned earlier, Double-O’s production has continued to progress and Naledge’s lyrics are as sharp as any working rapper. They’ve really come into their own on this album, and despite the heavy guest list, the album is cohesive and the Kidz outshine their peers.

The marketing for this project has be nothing short of spectacular as these two have been everywhere prior to the release. Either Dru Ha’s pockets are deeper than we thought, or the Kidz talent is seeping through. I
like to think it’s the latter.

Standout tracks: Black Out, Inner Me, Snob Hop, Drivin’ Down the Block