The Cool Kids' Chuck Inglish has stepped out on his own for Convertibles, his debut solo album. Stream it above, via Spotify.
Upon first listen, Convertibles is just about as varied as you'd expect from its guest list, which features Chromeo, Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger and a bevy of rappers from very different backgrounds. Though Einziger's presence is only audible on a few songs, the album still takes us through many different styles of hip hop, from its origins as an offshoot of disco (the Chromeo-assisted "Legs"), to G-funk (opener "Elevators"), to its modern incarnation as a venn diagram with EDM that has "twerking" in the middle ("Ingles "). The only discernible common thread is Inglish's production, with his long-standing devotion to basic 808 drums now seeming like it may never fade. It's cool to once again be reminded how versatile and influential the early drum machine really is, but Inglish could do with a little restraint -- maybe just choosing five or ten years of hip hop's three decade legacy to mimic would've been a more manageable task over the course of a 13 track album.
Despite this relative lack of cohesion, Convertibles is not lacking in bright spots. An early one is the Polyester The Saint-assisted "Swervin'," which is the most Cool Kids-esque song on here. Fueled by the type of bare bones beat that populated the duo's breakout EP, The Bake Sale, it shows that Inglish doesn't need the many bells and whistles found elsewhere on Convertibles to dominate the production game. Another highlight is previously-released single "Came Thru / Easily," which features Ab-Soul and Mac Miller envisioning themselves as the reincarnation of N.W.A., with Soulo playing Eazy-E and Miller somehow pulling off Ice Cube. This song is also fairly minimal when compared with the rest of the album, leaving room for excellent lines like Ab-Soul's, "Fuck what those hoes say, Canseco, I'm balling."
Closer "Glam," a soulful, full-band jam that recalls Chicago's late nineties Soulquarians movement, features a characteristically elastic performance from Chance The Rapper, and is certainly one of the strongest tracks on Convertibles. Here, Einziger is allowed to shine with a guitar solo, and with the song's sprawl, we almost forget that the word "twerk" was ever uttered (multiple times) on this album. "Glam" makes it clear that Inglish has a lot of great ideas bouncing around his head, but the fact that it feels like a grandiose bookend on the end of an unrelated album alerts us that he's got some work to in the curation and track sequencing departments.