Only hours before Sir Michael Rocks dropped his debut solo album, he agreed to some good ol’fashion Q&A with Hard Knock TV, blessing us with an exclusive perspective on the highly anticipated project.
The 15-track full-length, titled Banco, sees the Cool Kid rapper taking a matured approach to his music, hitting us with overloads of symbolism and personal philosophies. Even with a heavy line-up of featured artists, including Mac Miller, Iamsu!, DJ Mustard, Twista, Too $hort, and, fellow Cool Kid, Chuck Inglish, Mikey isn’t overshadowed as he keeps a ferocious, yet cool, stance throughout the creative brainchild.
On the subject of the album name, Banco, which is coined from the Spanish institution meaning “the people’s bank,” Rock shares how he landed on the innovative title: “I feel like I represent for the people who think like me. And I feel like I’m representing for the people that have ever had a similar mind space to mine. I feel like I’m a bank when it comes to ideas, and creativity, and different ways of thinking. ‘Banco Popular,’ or ‘The People’s Bank,’ was something that could tie all of those ideas together into one.”
We aint gunna argue with that. From his style (peep his new “Playstation 1.5” video for a refresher) to his musical direction, Mikey’s imprint on Hip-Hop has been anything but streamline. Since the Cool Kid days, he’s been rockin’ with an “Ima do me” mentality that transcends his eccentric fashion sense and rings out through his music. He continues to take the road less traveled in the context of his art with tracks like “F**k Sea World,” a braggadocios banger that jabs at the well-documented mistreatment of orca whales in captivity. I mean, who else out there is rapping about an aquatic theme park?
“I made the track based on the movie Blackfish…I never really thought about it before I watched the documentary. I never thought about where these whales were coming from, and what kind of situations they were in prior to being captured,” Mikey shared on the inspiration for the track. “At the end of the day, it’s really not cool, man. So I was just fired up one day, and that’s when I made that song. I met up with one of my friends who used to work there [at Miami’s Aquarium], and we went into an aquarium, and we shot that video before they got the chance to kick us out.”
If you keep tabs on the Chicago native, you also know that he’s been pretty busy since he last made magic with his Cool Kid co-conspirer, Chuck Inglish, racking up one impressive solo mixtape after another. But with the project, Banco, Mikey’s reached something like an artistic culmination.
“All the mixtapes that I’ve done prior to this album have all been just me figuring out things that I want to highlight about myself. Things that I want to bring out musically and visually. I didn’t want to put out an album before this because there were still things that I needed to tighten up. All the mixtapes before this album were the stepping stones building me up to this point.”
Mikey made one thing very clear—Banco is a labor of love for the fans, and he conceived most of the album with an aforethought mood in mind. So naturally, we had to ask him how he envisioned the listeners vibin’ with the tracks. Here’s what he had to say about a few:
Bussin’: “I would say it’s about 1:30 AM at the party. The drinks are just starting to set in. You feeling it, you feeling good. Trophies by Drake just went off, and the next song that comes on is Bussin’. You know, then you hear the lil’ piano start up, and everybody will know what time it is! And once that bass drop, everybody just starts jumping up and down, and going ham!”
One Time: “That’s like a late-night drive on your way back from a movie with the lil chick you’re diggin’. Maybe it’s your first date, maybe it’s your second date. And you’re on your way back from the movie theater. You probably snuck some wine into the movie, like I do all the time. You cruisin’ all slow, chillin, and you turn on [One Time], looking at the buildings as they pass by. And hopefully…she goes home with you after the drive home.”
Aint Nothing Like: “That’s one if you’re like 17 or 18, or in college–in your dorms. Y’all are getting dressed and about to go out to the frat parties. Y’all are ironing your clothes and drinking real cheap beer or liquor–since you not 21 yet. That’s the song you listen to while you’re getting ready for the night. And, turn it up real loud!”
Kill Switch: “KILL SWITCH! That’s my s**t! That’s the song you play if you in sports. So, if I was a sports guy, and I had a game, I would play that in the locker room! You know, I’m drinking a Gatorade. I’m in a huddle with my team, and we just getting hyped before we go out and kill the other team—33-0!”
As if news of a Sir Michael Rocks solo project isn’t exciting enough, we can ALSO confirm that The Cool Kids will be joining forces once again for the official studio album, Shark Week. While the release date is not yet confirmed, Mikey did drop some knowledge on what brought about the forthcoming reunion: “There are things that I couldn’t learn or get good at if I was up under Chuck all day. And there are things that he couldn’t do or learn if he was up under me all day. We had to separate to grow and evolve. Once we got to a point where we had developed enough on our own, that’s when we were like “Okay, I think we’re ready…we’ll get started on the next album now.”
After years of friendship and artistic collaboration, we anticipate that the now seasoned duo will attack the project with a fresh veteran confidence, while still maintaining that cohesive, give and take dynamic Mikey describes as a matter of opinion.
“Chuck has things that he likes that I don’t even know about. And I have things that I’m into that he doesn’t listen to. But we both know what not to do. Everybody has their own opinion on what’s good music. That’s what music is…So if we both know what we both don’t like, then I think that that helps us to, you know, give each other enough room to express for both ourselves and for this group.”
Look out for more news on Shark Week in the following months. In the meantime, you can cop Sir Michael Rock’s Banco from iTunes here.
Photos By: Roberto Mario