Published Aug 12, 2014As one half of the on-hiatus duo the Cool Kids, emcee Sir Michael Rocks has spent several years in Chicago's rising new rap scene and creating his own identity as a hip-hop knight. After releasing several mixtapes since 2011, Sir Michael Rocks has finally released his long awaited debut album, Banco.
Opening the 16-track album with the eclectic Madvillain-inspired "Memo," Mikey Rocks revisits the Cool Kids brand, which was deeply rooted in street fashion and materialistic possessions. The quest for an affluent lifestyle continues through the album, but not always in a righteous way. Sir Michael Rocks speaks out on the drug trade with "Drug Dealer", "Some Ish" and the Trinidad James- and Mac Miller-assisted "Lost Boys," on which Miller arguably steals the track.
Mikey Rocks successfully enlists Casey Veggies and IAMSU! to deliver the catchy, sexually charged "Bussin," while Robb Bank$ and Pouya leave forgettable verses over the sporadic tension-building production of "Kill Switch." Chuck Inglish and Sir Michael Rocks have reunited several times since their last album, and continue to prove that their bond is hard to break. Joining forces on the Dj Mustard-produced "Ain't Nothing Like," the duo take over side by side along with Oakland's Too $hort.
The album wouldn't be complete without production from Mikey Rocks himself; he shows great mixing skills on "1.5 Playstation," but delivers a less impressive rap effort. Highlight "F*ck SeaWorld," meanwhile, is an animal-friendly single inspired by the documentary Blackfish, and acknowledges all things Sir Michael Rocks: women, money, material goods, Final Fantasy VII and his pet chimp, Trunks.
While the definitive setting of Banco is Chi-Town's disruptive powers and anger, Mikey Rocks brings forth the warming soul that soothes it. Having already established a career within the boom-bap realm, Sir Michael Rock's reinvention as a solo artist rips apart the blueprints he once laid and sets a foundation that may lead straight to el Banco. (6 Cell Phones)