I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but the novelty of hip-hop crews started to wear a while ago. Maybe too many blogs claimed that they had found the next Odd Future or maybe I just became more cynical after realizing crews like Pro.Era were a lot less deep than I’d initially hoped. Despite this, I can’t help but get excited about the potential of The $hoots, a collective of rappers from the westside of Chicago. They only have two tracks that I can find and both are shots in the arm for a worn posse-aesthetic. Anchored by Lanzo’s menacing funk, “Plottin'” is a near perfect introduction to the world of The $hoots. “I came to bring the funk, I live for the funk, I die for the funk,” is the kind of line that not all rappers could deliver believably. Channelling the laid back vibes of Digable Planets without ever seeming to be trying too hard to cop the sound, The $hoots are undeniable. It’s a reminder that the coolest kids in class are never actually trying to be cool.