Entertainment Entertainment Music

Sir Michael Rocks' 'Banco' works when it's weird

**1/2 (out of 4)

In an alternate universe, Chicago rap duo The Cool Kids survives its insane hype in 2007-'08, avoids the "hipster rap" label that unfortunately followed the group at the time, cuts a classic album and stands atop the rap landscape as the best rap duo since Outkast.

What happened instead were record label conflicts and 2011's "When Fish Ride Bicycles" failing to hit as hard as it might have had it arrived a few years earlier. (The group’s follow-up, “Shark Week,” is expected later this year.) Now, less than four months after April’s release of Chuck Inglish's solo record "Convertibles," we finally get “Banco,” the first solo album from the other Cool Kid, Sir Michael Rocks (whose real name is Antoine Reed and who is now based in L.A.). It’s both fascinating and puzzling.

There are moments of excitement, like lead single "Bussin" (feat. Casey Veggies and Iamsu!) and the Blondie-sampling "Francois," and moments of fun creativity like "The Docks," an interlude that makes history as the only musical composition to feature both Do or Die's "Playa Like Me and You" and music from the underwater level of Super Mario 64. Rocks has a unique delivery; he might be the only rapper who can spit a line like, "My life like ‘Kingdom Hearts,’ my eyes good enough to see a fart" and not make me want him exiled to space. He's best when exploring unconventional topics.

Of course, when Rocks repeatedly spouts off clichés (taking your girl, getting laid all the live-long day, blah blah blah), he loses his impact. And while it’s understandable to want a hit, when the result is a song like "Ain’t Nothing Like"—which bites the by-now-stale sound of DJ Mustard-produced songs like YG's "My Hitta" or Ty Dolla $ign's "Paranoid"--the overall project suffers.

Still, when's the last time you heard a rapper take time to curse out SeaWorld on behalf of killer whales, as Rocks does on the appropriately named "[Bleep] SeaWorld”? If the song is a reference to "Blackfish," I applaud you, Sir Michael Rocks. It's about time someone addressed that on wax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • 'Great team effort' by joggers saves man in Lake Michigan

    'Great team effort' by joggers saves man in Lake Michigan

    During an early morning jog along Lake Michigan with his wife and children Tuesday, John Corba spotted a man struggling in the water nearly 30 yards from the shore.

  • Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    As a founding member of the Grateful Dead, Bill Kreutzmann watched the world change from behind his drum kit, shoveling coal in the wildly tribal rhythm section as the Dead went from San Francisco underground curio to ground-breaking indie outfit, then progenitor of the improvisation-based rock...

  • Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    The cliché that colors every good rock star story is “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll." For the Grateful Dead, the trailblazing rock band known for its improvisational style, revelatory live shows and dedicated fanbase, there was that and so much more.

  • 10 best movies of 2015 so far

    10 best movies of 2015 so far

    The year’s half over! How did that happen? No idea. With six months of a good year of movies in the books, let’s see how the Top 10 list is looking, with a quote from each respective review. Note: There are a few I’ve seen that I really like that haven’t yet opened in Chicago, and those aren’t...

  • If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    Nearly 5 million more Americans would qualify for overtime pay under new rules proposed Tuesday by the Obama administration, a long-anticipated move expected to affect a broad swath of salaried employees from store managers to social workers to restaurant shift supervisors.

  • Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Unlike previous summers, UniStaff is experiencing a spike in job applicants at its Little Village location, a trend the branch manager says is tied to the city's minimum wage increase to $10 per hour beginning Wednesday.

Comments
Loading