For the past couple of years, nearly all the members of Kooley High have been profile subjects in this paper. With the Raleigh-based, hip-hop sextet taking on various side projects in their spare time, whether it’s mixtapes, collaborative efforts or full-fledged solo releases, these crew mates are always doing something worthwhile. Heck, we even hollered at the group’s DJ, Ill Digitz, when he spun at a ’90s party.
Now there are two left: Foolery and Sinopsis, better known as the men who are responsible for creating the beats that make up the group’s foundation.
But nine years ago, way before there was a Kooley High, Thomas Kevin (Foolery) and Dennis McCarter (Sinopsis) were two N.C. State students who were also aspiring beat makers.
“I actually had an English class with a guy named Chris, who was a friend of Tom’s,” remembers the New York-born, twentysomething Sinopsis. “And once Chris found out I made music, he introduced me and Tom. And then, me and Tom – you know, we just talked about music.”
Soon, the pair began getting together to make beats, playing them for each other and taking notes.
Foolery and Sinopsis would eventually show off their skills for their future Kooley High brethren when they were all members of h2o, a hip-hop campus organization. Says Sinopsis, “In the Kooley High situation, it worked out that the type of beats that we made worked for that collective, and it kinda clicked for everybody.” Adds the Raleigh-born Foolery, 28, “And the ones that had the best chemistry ended up becoming Kooley High.”
Even though Foolery and Sinopsis serve as the group’s production team, they don’t produce music together. They have always maintained a friendly rivalry while providing beats for their MCs -- something that has both kept them on their toes and helped shape and define the group’s sound.
“I think the fact that we both have different styles but we were coming at it from the same school, and since we were learning from each other and also competing, it allowed us to form a sound where it wasn’t all the same thing, but it all sounded like it belonged together,” says Foolery.
As Kooley High would gradually go on to become a cohesive hip-hop unit, dropping releases and doing shows, Foolery also began taking on the role of hype man during live sets. Sinopsis considers himself more of the group’s go-between guy. (“I’d probably call myself the diplomat,” he says.) Of course, when you’re in a hip-hop crew with five other people, being on the same accord is something you constantly have to keep tabs on.
“We’re all equal-parts strategists,” says Sinopsis. “I mean, my thing is we’re all equally involved, as far as, like, musical decisions … So the best songs, the best nucleus of songs, whatever the best arrangement is wins, whether it’s his or mine. That’s kinda like how the process goes for making the album.”
While both men confirm that a new Kooley High album is in the works, they are continuing to keep their fans satisfied with their live shows, like the one they’ll do Friday night at Kings. They are also dabbling in side projects – Foolery is working on a solo endeavor and Sinopsis is finishing up an album with Tab-One.
So, even though Foolery and Sinopsis may not be as front-and-center as their other Kooley High colleagues, they are the ones who make sure this school is always in session.