Kooley High 101: 6 reasons to check out this hip-hop group’s new album and release party

Kooley High is (L-R) Foolery, Charlie Smarts, Sinopsis, Tab-One and DJ ill Digits.Courtesy of Kooley High

Kooley High celebrates the release of “Never Come Down” Saturday night at Lincoln Theatre, the group’s first full-length album in three years.

The hip-hop group, which came together at N.C. State more than a decade ago, released the 14-track album March 30. That was the same day two of its members were seen in an episode of the Netflix documentary “Rapture” featuring the Triangle’s Grammy-nominated Rapsody.

Rapsody got her start with the group, now composed of Foolery, Tab-One, Sinopsis, Charlie Smarts and DJ ill Digits. Some of its members still divide their time between Raleigh and New York.

In the documentary, Rapsody, whose name is Marlanna Evans, visits N.C. State’s Freedom of Expression Tunnel and looks back on her time with the group and how they helped form the foundation for her solo career.

To help you get in the Kooley High zone, here’s why you should be jamming this new album nonstop and get excited for the release party Saturday night.

Lesson 1: It’s the home team

There’s a consistent flow of major label artists coming through Raleigh and the Triangle all the time, and we show up for them, rightfully so. So let’s take this opportunity to pull up for the home team, as Kooley High was formed at N.C. State in the 2000s.

Lesson 2: Charlie Smarts and Tab-One

These dudes can rap. If you’re just learning of Kooley High, go back and listen to albums “David Thompson” and “Heights.” You’ll be impressed. Then pick up “Never Come Down” where they take it to another level lyrically (plus, production from Sinopsis and Foolery is gold). Did you catch this freestyle on WKNC?

                                                                                            Facebook/Kooley High

Lesson 3: You will want to hear “Never Come Down” live

You can listen to the entire album without skipping a track, so imagine that vibe in person. Then, imagine when “More Than Money” comes on and you’re rocking side to side. Or, when the title track drops and you’re rapping the chorus with one hand in the air, saying, “Never coming down, never coming down.” That’s one of those dope moments you don’t want to miss.

Lesson 4: It’s a rap concert where you can take your significant other

If you want to add to some hip-hop to your slow-jams playlist, you could take a couple tracks from “Never Come Down.” So have your partner in tow at the release party and you can slow dance to songs like “You” and “Voila.”

Lesson 5: Durham will definitely be in the building

You can’t go wrong with an opener like G Yamazawa, who has been on fire the last year or so. Hopefully J. Gunn will join him during his set so they can rock the crowd with the North Carolina favorite, “North Cack,” off Yamazawa’s debut album “Shouts To Durham.” Plus, Yamazawa teamed up with Tab-One for his track “WHAS GOOD,” which also features local rapper Defacto Thezpian.

If you’re not familiar with M8ALLA, get acquainted. She’s started to bubble and is definitely an artist to keep an eye on. 3am is not to be missed, either.

Lesson 6: We might be “grinning” by end of the show

We know Rapsody was part of Kooley High at the beginning, and the Grammy-nominated emcee is on a track called “Grinning” on the group’s new album. So could we see all the original members on stage at the same time? We’ll have to wait and see.

Kooley High with G Yamazawa, M8ALLA and 3am

When: 9 p.m. April 21
Where: Lincoln Theatre, 26 E. Cabarrus St. Raleigh
Tickets: $14
Info: lincolntheatre.com


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