Kidz in the Hall

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FSD Feature: Catching up with Kidz In The Hall on the 10th anniversary of ‘School Was My Hustle’

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10 years ago, the duo of Naledge and Double-O, better known as Kidz In The Hall, were thrust into the hip-hop spotlight via their Rawkus Records debut, School Was My Hustle. The duo, who met as students at the University of Pennsylvania, were able to parlay their Ivy League education into a full blown rap career, with Chi City music industry legend John Monopoly guiding the way. The album paved the way for a new DIY scene in Chicago, the movement which now reigns supreme. Sure, school might’ve been their hustle, but these two were also able to see the future. Much of Chicago’s current hip-hop royalty owe a lot to Naledge and Double-O, who undoubtedly set the trend for the current state of local hip-hop.

At the time, they were able to make their mark in a landscape controlled by major labels. They had a strong buzz and notoriety within the industry all while having to compete with other Chicago artists who had major label backing such as Lupe Fiasco, Bump J, Rhymefest and Kanye West.

In the decade since their emergence in the indie rap market, they’ve gone on to considerable success — as a duo and in their solo endeavors. For Naledge, school is still his hustle as he’s pursuing a PhD at Northwestern, while recording music on the side and running his non-profit Brainiac Project. Double-O is still producing music, and is currently criss-crossing the globe as Lupe Fiasco’s tour DJ. So yes, they’re both still very much active in the music business.

On the 10th anniversary of their seminal debut, I caught up with both Naledge and Double-O to discuss the album and how they became a duo. Today, School Was My Hustle was also released as a reissue, now available on streaming services for the first time in history. Now, let’s take a walk down memory lane with two of hip-hop’s favorite scholars.

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FSD Feature: Geniuses Need Love Too: An Appreciation of Kidz in the Hall

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Words by Alec Siegel (@bigasiegs)

When the subject of the most influential Chicago hip-hop artists of the ‘90s and ‘00s is brought up, I can guarantee mention of the usual suspects: Kanye West, Common, Twista, Lupe Fiasco, Crucial Conflict, Do or Die, etc. But when is the last time you heard someone mention Kidz in the Hall?

When I first heard Kidz in the Hall, I thought they were another hip-hop act that was stuck in the genre’s Golden Era, recreating a sound they were hardly old enough to appreciate. To be fair, my first taste of them was “Wheelz Fall Off (‘06 Til),” a track with an instrumental based around the ubiquitous horn sample from Souls of Mischief’s seminal classic “‘93 ‘til Infinity.” How could you blame me?

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