Kidz in the Hall The In Crowd

Backpackers? Neo-Native Tongues? Post-Pete Rock & CL Smooth? At this stage in the game, Kidz in the Hall aren’t in the least bit concerned about the hip-hop box critics and fans want to shove them into. Right now, for the professed purveyors of "Snob Hop,” it’s all about leveraging the buzz and momentum from a well-received debut (2006’s School Was My Hustle) and the bold move to Duck Down Records to unleash The In Crowd, a powerful sophomore effort that producer Double-O and MC Naledge say is the next phase of the Kidz in the Hall musical movement. Jam-packed with guest spots by the Clipse, Cool Kids, Estelle and Gym Class Heroes (to name a few), the new project proves that an indie sound and a mainstream mindset aren’t mutual exclusive, while also showing that yes, being sonically eclectic is indeed the new musical aesthetic. Backed by Double-O’s parsimonious production, the highly-touted Naledge’s lyrical deftness effortlessly bridges the gap between a true-school flow and 21st century sensibilities. This ultimately translates into the gritty flow that is "Driving Down the Block” (featuring an inspired combo of the Cool Kids, Pusha T and Bun B), which isn’t out of place with Black Sheep-inspired Camp Lo collabos like "Snob Hop,” which seamlessly segues into a nu-soul sonnet like "Love Hangover” with London ingénue Estelle. Bottom line: the blazer emblazoned freshmen dually represent classy and ashy, and sound clean doing it.

Aren’t you tired of people trying to put you in a box and label you?
Naledge: The Kids in the Hall movement is about bridging the gap between what’s independent and what’s mainstream. School Was My Hustle was just the beginning. It was like the first date, where you’re trying to figure out if you like us. Now with this album, we know that you like us and we want you to get to know us better. Deciding who we wanted to guest on this album was not about just grabbing who was available. It’s about "who do we want?” and just going out and working with them. It’s like finding the right gear to complement your Air Force Ones.

How do you define success?
Double-O: For us success is twofold: it’s about being able to sell out shows while being able to take care of the family. It’s the difference between working for your money and making the money work for you. The difference of being with Duck Down [is that it] allows us the creative freedom to better express ourselves and be more diverse. We’re seizing the opportunity. It’s part of a movement that includes artists like Kanye, Lupe Fiasco and Wale. Either you get down or get left behind. (Duck Down)