Song Of The Day

Kidz In The Hall: Back To The Summer

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Drivin' Down the Block (Low End Theory)"
  • Album: In the Crowd
  • Artist: Kidz in the Hall
  • Label: Duck Down
  • Released: 2008
 

Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Drivin' Down the Block"
  • Artist: Kidz in the Hall
  • CD: The In Crowd
  • Genre: Hip-Hop
Kidz in the Hall 300

hide captionKidz in the Hall's "Drivin' Down the Block" is a sunny anthem where style overwhelms substance, in grand hip-hop tradition.

courtesy of the artist

The rap duo Kidz in the Hall is sort of like the Vampire Weekend of contemporary hip-hop: Its members met while attending an Ivy League university — prominently reflected in their stage getup — and they owe much of their success to the file-sharing footsoldiers of the music blogosphere. Also like the New York rock group, they've scored buzz among the drainpipe-jeans crowd, complete with the unfortunate label "hipster rap" and the requisite backlash sure to follow. Thankfully, Kidz in the Hall's members don't much seem to care, and for that, this past summer's soundtrack was much enriched.

In "Drivin' Down the Block," Naledge (the MC) and Double-O (the DJ and producer) have created a sunny anthem where style overwhelms substance, in grand hip-hop tradition. The song has been public since January or so, and as winter returns, it's nice to look back on its ode to a quintessential warm-weather activity: cruising, among other forms of bragging sport. In their quest for the good life, they play loud music, proclaim their commodity fetishism, procure various intoxicants and pursue women without effort: "Wifey feelin' intimate / Park up at the lake and turn the car into the Sybaris."

The duo also throws in a handful of references engineered to make the informed listener feel smart: the sample of Masta Ace's minor hit "Born to Roll," the interpolation of the hook to OutKast's "Elevators (Me and You)," numerous allusions to A Tribe Called Quest's The Low End Theory. Considering that these guys were probably in actual grade-school halls when some of those works emerged, it makes Naledge's claim to be "so hip-hop" sound a touch calculated. But any real or imagined inauthenticity is dwarfed by his evident respect for hip-hop history — and, more to the point, the fun he seems to be having. Naledge spits with the swagger necessary to pull off his strut, and Double-O sets him up with a radio-friendly beat, an amalgam of swirling synths, deliberately dated 808 drum sounds and any number of sonic ornaments. With the niceties of summer long past, it's still nice to revel in the sheer pleasure of innocently glorious ostentation.

Listen to yesterday's Song of the Day, and subscribe to the Song of the Day newsletter.

Purchase Featured Music

In the Crowd

Purchase Music

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • Album: In the Crowd
  • Artist: Kidz in the Hall
  • Label: Duck Down
  • Released: 2008
 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Song Of The Day