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Kidz in the Hall
School Was My Hustle

kidzinthehall.jpgIn the urban high school that is hip-hop, there are uberintellectual nerds (backpackers), truant thugs (trappers turned “I’m-not-a-rapper” rappers), assorted mean girls (the bitchy female MCs of the moment) and, of course, the popular kids who just get along with everyone. Incoming freshmen Kidz in the Hall make an attempt at joining the “in crowd” with their debut, School Was My Hustle.

Made up of producer DJ Double-O and Chicago MC Naledge, Kidz are a throwback to the days when beatmaker/rapper combos like Gang Starr were common and rap was less polarized. “Yo, I rock for the thugs/Rock for the hipsters/Rock for them backpack niggas holdin’ they fists up,” raps Naledge on the breezy “Wassup Jo,” and throughout the LP, he tries to cover all the bases. On the soul-drenched “Move on Up,” he gives a scathing indictment of sellouts in the media (“Sambos and jeze-bels/Porch monkeys tryin’ to sell/Propaganda to they own people/Still trapped in hell”).

Aware of listeners’ short attention spans, Naledge balances his declarations of social consciousness with admissions of materialism. Take the up-tempo gem “Cruise Control,” which finds the Windy City representative in the club, “taking big shots like Shaquille.” However, Naledge is at his subdued best on “Wheelz Fall Off,” Double-O’s excellent reworking of Billy Cobham’s “Heather,” the sweet electric piano sample that was the foundation of Souls of Mischief’s “93 ’Til Infinity.”

For the most part, Kidz’s musical chemistry is on point, but there are a few instances where they misfire—namely Naledge’s annoying hook on the otherwise sturdy chick record “Ms. Juanita” and Double-O’s repetitive single-bar drum loop for “Ritalin.” However, a weak chorus here and a less-than-great beat there won’t stop the Kidz from eventually becoming the new big men on campus.—TIMMHOTEP AKU
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87cover.jpgRead the rest of XXL’s Critical Beatdown review section in the
December 2006 issue (#87)

  • mofokho

    real hip hop from chi town the album is hot soulful with this pete rock gangstarr flavor

  • ASAP

    Yo who said intellectual niggas cant rap heard a couple of the tracks and there pretty sick they wont move much units but dap to niggas doing the shit they love

  • http://www.myspace.com/pettie88 LAWRENCE

    i dont know about this one….ill probably listen to it on rhapsody first and then decide

  • hannah smith

    This album’s clearly a five mic record, and the beat on ‘Ritalin’ is dope – perfect for the two minute opening statement of intent/

    XXL mag can’t rate records for shit – you’ll prolly give Jigga’s half-assed comeback 5/5…

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Kareem

    DAMN These Dudes are Sick

  • bugaboo

    Now thank God for these Kidz here. In this todays world of sell-out rap industry they BRING HOPE back! Breath of fresh air!

  • Town Biz

    Never heard of these guys before. I saw naledge on My:block Chi-town. The boy can spit, beats are cool. Most importantly he’s himself. This is taking it back to the hip-hop I grew up on when most of the tight rappers at least went to college for a semester or two. I like what Chi-town has to offer Kidz, Lupe, Common. I’m getting just because they flipped that 93′ til beat and that wassup jo. instant slap as we say in the Bay

  • J Cal

    this is the type of music that can change the game again, no more jim jones baaaalin, this dude can spit intelligence…wait until his solo album drops early 07

  • http://gmobb.com Ace Roddy

    Bay niggas stand up. Of all niggas who iz these muthafuckas

  • QUEENZGETTHEMONEY

    are you niggaz at XXL just handin out XL’S???? i aint never evan heard of these joe blows/

  • heyfool

    you saying you haven’t heard of a group says nothing about the music itself…the point of the review is to put you up on them.

  • Avenger

    please remind these retarded monkeys what a review is ment for. stupid pop weasals

  • PITPAT

    heyfool Says:

    November 24th, 2006 at 1:56 am
    you saying you haven’t heard of a group says nothing about the music itself…the point of the review is to put you up on them.

    nigga he is saying that he aint never heard of them so there album must suck or it would of blew up

  • FAIR

    in a world of wack ass rap made up of weak lyrics and played out beats and no thought or skills being showed you have a group that drops pure skills this cd brings hip-hop back to what it should be who gives a fuck about selling a million its doing what you love if the success comes its just an added bonus knawledge kills double os beats XXL by my ratinga you need to rething this one givin it the same ratring as jimmy jones wack ass what were you thinking 100

  • Gucci is gay…

    These dudes are nice on the mic, how the hell does not knowing about someone affect anything about how much skill they have. Get your damn ears out of your ass.

  • http://Americamaid.net Slashmarx

    Young Red Gold is off the chain bets alive DONE WITH IT. fuck papussy

  • http://www.myspace.com/crownsound 7

    Thats why hip-hop is turning to crap— half these dudes don’t know whats hot unless the radio plays it or they in a magazine or there killing a bunch of muthafuckers– thats the stupidist comment i ever heard-DAMN That Kids in the Hall shit is flame- real talk

    REPLY TO:
    QUEENZGETTHEMONEY
    “are you niggaz at XXL just handin out XL’S???? i aint never evan heard of these joe blows”

  • Intifada

    This is a top top album from a top top duo.

    Jay-Z jacked the beat off of “Don’t Stop” for his Kingdom Come Single “Show Me What You Got”.

  • Matt H.

    I only have one question…
    Where the hell did most of you learn to write? 90% of the people who post on this site have absolutely no concept of writing in a lucid and direct manner. Have you ever thought about using commas, periods, question marks, or any of the other syntax and grammar tools that have been adopted by the english language to help articulate your mindless rhetoric and “beefs?”

    Here’s a suggestion…
    If you really want someone to get your point, do not write in your street slang. It isn’t near as effective, and it is very hard for the reader to comprehend (not that most of you really have anything important to say anyways).

    You are disgracing yourselves and the people who helped raise and mold you. You are disgracing the hip hopsters you are trying to defend by writing things that don’t convey a real message…just like every one of Chingy’s songs. hahaha

    Final thought…
    Use some sense when you write; you may just “school some niggas.”

    …yes I am an avid hip-hop listener and have been for many years. I have seen it evolve into the crap we see from most artists today. Test my knowledge if you must.

  • http://www.kaisorsosa.com Kaisor Sosa

    If you from Chicago I cant see how cant fuck with this album. Its a classic. Real hip hop.

  • No Fool

    Cosign 7 & Matt H.

  • Me

    They bit the Artifacts “Wrong Side of the Tracks” video.

  • Me

    They bit the Artifacts “Wrong Side of the Tracks” video.