Q&A With Sir Michael Rocks: Talks 2011 Grind, Solo Career Vs. The Cool Kids & Jet Life Deal
Sir Michael Rocks, aka Mikey Rocks of The Cool Kids, has come along way since being known as "that guy who dresses like he's from the 80s". Rising to fame with his homie Chuck Inglish, through the success of The Cool Kids' mixtape hustle (most notably with 2008's The Bake Sale), the Chicago emcee has set his sights on cementing his niche as a solo artist, too.
Delivering The Rocks Report and Premier Politics mixtapes in 2011, Sir Michael has successfully shifted critics' conversations from his (undoubtedly dapper) sense of style to his infectious sound. Recently being signed to Curren$y's Jet Life Recordings, the rapper's voice among hip-hop's savvy generation is as prominent as ever. We kicked it with Sir Michael Rocks to discuss his plans on the new label, his approach to fashion, if The Cool Kids were the Wu-Tang Clan, and more...
BallerStatus.com: What's good Sir Michael Rocks? You've just come off The Cool Kids tour. What's that been like?
Sir Michael Rocks: It was cool, man. We just had some shows for three weeks. Did some with Lupe [Fiasco], Chiddy Bang and Travis Porter, and then we headlined some, so it was like a real random tour. It was dope, though.
BallerStatus.com: 2011's been a busy year for you with the release of two solo mixtapes, an album with The Cool Kids and signing to a new label. How would you sum up this past year so far?
Sir Michael Rocks: It's been good man, it's been real good. All the work I've been putting in since the beginning of the year, it's starting to come to life and I've been seeing all the results of the work I've been doing, so it's been a good year, man. It's about to start off next year crazy, you know what I mean? The results from everything I've been doing are still coming now, so I think it's about to be a good 2012, too.
BallerStatus.com: Obviously, you're signing to Curren$y's Jet Life Recordings is big news. What do you hope to achieve on the label?
Sir Michael Rocks: I really just want to bring what I got to the table and fit that over there, because I bring something different to the table that they didn't really have, and vice versa. We both helping each other out and that's the dope part about it. I'm not going over there looking for somebody to tell me what to do because I work independently and got a real good work ethic, so I'm always on schedule with my plans. I think that it'll be good to learn from Curren$y too, man. I think we got a lot we could teach each other. It'll be fun because we've been cool for a minute anyway, and it's just good to work with people that you've been friends with first.
BallerStatus.com: What does the term "Jet Life" mean to you?
Sir Michael Rocks: I like the acronym, how he did it -- "Just Enjoy This Sh**". It's dope because it's what we're supposed to be doing here. Life is short, so we should just enjoy it while we're here and not worry about all the little sh** that's coming up in the way and all the little obstacles and that. The big picture is we're supposed to be happy; we're supposed to be enjoying this and doing what we love to do, so that's what it means for me.
BallerStatus.com: With the Jet World Order album dropping at the end of this month (November 29th), what can fans expect to hear on that record?
Sir Michael Rocks: I got some joints on there with Trademark and all of them. It's dope -- they pick good beats. I came kinda at the end, so they had a lot of it done already, so I just hopped on the last few. But, it's going to be dope, though. Roddy's super nice on the mic, you already know what Curren$y's going to do, and Trademark's dope, too. So, it's going to be fresh.
BallerStatus.com: Your recent mixtape, Premier Politics, saw you collaborate with a wider range of producers. How different is it working with other beat makers as opposed to just with Chuck Inglish?
Sir Michael Rocks: It's fun because different producers got different sounds, and different sounds inspire me to write different sh**. I get to figure out more things that I want to say because it's going to be different sounds to take me in a different direction. I get to show more of myself and show the different sides of me, so I like it -- it's fun. Working with different producers helps build my sound and shows more of what I can do.
BallerStatus.com: Any favorite production collaborations on the mixtape?
Sir Michael Rocks: Let me see... I like working with Alchemist, I like working with him a lot. My guy, Brandon, SJ and my guy, Tahil, too -- we do a lot of stuff together. We build a lot of beats from scratch, so it's cool to work with him.
BallerStatus.com: What was the main theme you wanted to achieve with Premier Politics?
Sir Michael Rocks: I just wanted to keep building on what I had started on my solo side. I feel like I'm growing more and more, and getting way better every time I do a new song, basically. I wanted to continue to show that growth and to show that I'm just starting, you know? It's about to be fun.
BallerStatus.com: In a recent interview, you said how you wanted to follow the Wu-Tang Clan by putting out classic solo material and then linking back as a group -- in your case with Chuck as The Cool Kids. If you had to compare yourself and Chuck to a Wu-Tang member, who would you pick and why?
Sir Michael Rocks: [Chuck] would have to be RZA, you already know, man. I think I'm a combo of Rae and Ghost, mixed a little bit. I studied them a lot when I was a shorty, so I definitely relate to Raekwon, the way that he paint pictures. He's always real detailed about what he's saying, his flow is stupid and he uses a lot of his own slang and his own words. Ghostface, you know, he got that energy and that charisma to him. He's a real good storyteller and I feel like I got a lot of those qualities, too.
BallerStatus.com: Your approach to fashion has become somewhat of a trademark. In three words, how would you describe your style?
Sir Michael Rocks: I would say classy... classic... and first. I'm the first one, I usually do something first. I'm not scared to pop something new off, so if I think something is cool, I don't care if nobody else is doing it yet, I'ma do it anyway.
BallerStatus.com: You recently dropped a collection of sweatshirts and tees with the release of Premier Politics. Can we expect to see a Sir Michael Rocks clothing line anyway time soon?
Sir Michael Rocks: You ever heard of Dapper Dan, the dude back in the 80's who used to make all that stuff for Rakim? He used to take Gucci fabric and make crazy sh** with it that they wouldn't make. Basically, I found the new version of him and it's an old Italian cat, man. He makes a bunch of crazy sh**, so I kinda want to brand his stuff and help him. I don't want to make clothes, though, I just like wearing them. But yeah, I'ma team up with him. His name is Mariani and I'ma just rock his sh** and pop it off.
BallerStatus.com: And finally, what are your plans now? Are you working on solo, The Cool Kids or Jet Life music?
Sir Michael Rocks: Both, man. I can multi-task, so I'm doing everything right now. [Chuck and I] gotta work on our next album real soon, so I'm getting ready for that. I'll probably hop on this tour with Curren$y and them in a second, too, and we'll probably be making some music, anyway.