Kidz in the Hall set out to make its new album, “The In Crowd,” an EP — which, the Ivy League hip-hop duo notes, is nothing new.
“It just works out that way,” rapper Naledge tells Billboard.com, noting that the group’s 2006 debut, “School is My Hustle,” started as a mix tape and turned into an album.
His partner, Double-O, says that Kidz began working on the tracks that became “The In Crowd” while they were between label deals and making “Detention,” last year’s digital-only, Mick Boogie-produced release. The initial idea was an EP called “Class Participation,” but it grew into a full album project when Kidz recruited Boot Camp Clik’s Sean Price and Buckshot to guest on a track. That then led to a deal with the group’s Duck Down Records and a move to a full-length project.
“We just wanted to get some of our friends onto some records and then put it out there,” Double-O explains. “That grew once every record that we made started feeling like something bigger than would just be on an EP. It went from, ‘OK, well, this can either be a cool EP or we can really just go the extra route and make it the album we think we can make.'”
“The In Crowd” still has plenty of Kidz’ friends in the mix, including Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes, Estelle, Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, Fooch, Little Brother’s Phonte and Master Ace, while the Clipse and the Cool Kids are featured on a remix of the single “Drivin’ Down the Block.” Naledge and Double-O, meanwhile, hope the 14-track set establishes a different identity than they feel resulted from “School Was My Hustle.”
“With the first album I feel as though a lot of people kind of threw us into this retro/backpack box and even more so in the political, socially conscious kind of dry box,” Naledge explains. “I think people took the college aspect of it and the Ivy League thing and just ran with it and assumed who we are without listening to the music.
“It’s kind of limiting and we don’t feel like that’s necessarily who we are; it might be a piece of who we are, but it’s not who we are. So with (‘The In Crowd’) we kind of are spoon-feeding the public and letting them know there’s…more.”
Kidz are promoting “The In Crowd” with Paid Dues festival dates in June in New York City and Berkeley, Calif, and on the Rock the Bells tour, which starts July 19 in Chicago. “People are paying attention now,” Double-O says, “so we have to make sure, while we have their attention, that we give them everything that we can.”