The shortest distance between Point A and happiness is a great beat. The best way to make an idea stick is a great lyric. The fastest way to build a community is sudden bass drop. The men on this list aren’t just artists, they are bond builders. They get us moving together, hypnotizing us into sharing big moments. They are singers and rappers and strummers, but they’ve all got the same job at the end of the day and that’s to make us think… hell, yeah. And these guys are exceptional at that job.
What makes musicians cool? Hard to say. They’ve always been cool. But what makes these musicians cool is their commitment to their own styles. These guys deliver songs no one else could. And they do so with swagger.
Chance the Rapper
Cool Dad Job: President of Chicago
Latest Cool Dad Achievement: Dropping The Big Day, an unexpectedly upbeat mainstream rap album.
Watching Chance judge up-and-comers on the Netflix talent show Rhythm + Flow, it’s clear not only that the man recognizes artistry, but that he’s keenly aware of that specific space in which artistry and commerce collide. Chance is not exactly a rapper’s rapper. But he’s not a cornball, either. He’s an operator and a self-made man. He’s a guy who understands what other people bring to the table and what he does. No wonder SNL has opted to have him pull double duty, hosting and performing on the show. In tackling that challenge, he joins auspicious company (Ray Charles, Paul Simon, Donald Glover). Don’t bet on the guy to miss a punchline.
Cool Dad Job: Award-Winning Country Musician
Latest Cool Dad Achievement: Winning the Academy of Country Music Award for Male Vocalist of the Year for the second time.
Thomas Rhett brought chivalry back to country music. Amid a sea of bro-country songs about men trying to get women into the back of various trucks, Rhett showed up with some slightly more high-minded lyrics. If you’ve been to a wedding south of the Mason-Dixon, you’ve likely heard his certified-platinum hit “A Happy Man,” which is quite a bit more romantic than checking someone for ticks.The son of country singer Rhett Atkins, Rhett has a refreshingly casual style — he keeps things simple — two daughters, Willa Gray and Ada James, and a nice-guy reputation that feels well deserved. The 29-year-old seems to be on his way to becoming a country institution, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Cool Dad Job: Rapper, Producer
Latest Cool Dad Achievement: Becoming a children’s book author.
Born Timothy Zachary Mosley, Timbaland has more hooks than a fly-fisher. A music legend, Timbaland has worked with every artist to ever drop a track that you couldn’t help but dance to — from Rihanna to Jay-Z. A father of three, Timbaland got a new gig in 2019, becoming the author of Nighttime Symphony, a children’s book about city sounds and how they can be the ultimate lullaby. “I took my time with this,” he says of the book. No word yet on a sequel, but don’t be surprised if it turns out to be about ridin’ a pony.
Cool Dad Job: Frontman, Podcaster
Latest Cool Dad Achievement: Pulling off the indie rock tour of the year.
It’s been more than a decade since Vampire Weekend first burst on to the indie scene with Graceland-inspired tunes about Cape Cod, Peter Gabriel, and Oxford commas. But while most of the bands from that era have faded into obscurity, Vampire Weekend remains as beloved as ever, in large part thanks to Koenig, its slightly cool, slightly mysterious, and slightly nerdy frontman. In the wake of releasing the new album, Father of the Bride, Koenig has been ubiquitous. He’s got a podcast about life on the road running on The Ringer and all the merch that’s fit to push. It looks very much like he’s going to join Jeff Tweedy and Matt Berninger in the Dad Rock Hall of Fame, thanks to his son, Isaiah, with actor Rashida Jones.
Cool Dad Job: Rapper
Latest Cool Dad Achievement: Colonizing planet Astroworld.
Travis Scott is only 28, and yet the Houston, Texas-born rapper has three solo albums, one collaborative album and two mixtapes under his belt. He also has, famously, a baby with Kylie Jenner, the Kardashian makeup mogul known for her lip kits and money. In a sense, both Scott and Jenner are viral sensations. Last year, Sicko Mode was everywhere. Just try to listen without dancing. It can’t be done.