Sir Michael Rocks Talks Animal Rights, Sexting & ‘Banco’ Album [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
If you thought hip-hop solely thrived on a rapper laying down the perfect verse over a tight beat, then you may be living in the dark ages because times have changed. In today's rap world it's all about multitasking. It's not every day you see a rapper referencing his sexual scandals on social media while looking for new ways to save the whales and concentrating on projected album sales at the same damn time. Somehow Sir Michael Rocks has found a way to pull it all off.
After finding his rap game come-up as one half of the Cool Kids, the Chi-town MC is channeling his inner R. Kelly and spreading his wings because he's ready to fly -- solo that is. With a passionate social media countdown in full effect, Mikey celebrates the release of his debut solo album, 'Banco.'
The 16-track LP pays homage to Sir Michael's hometown with features from Twista and guests like Too $hort, Trinidad Jame$ and Casey Veggies add their talents as well. But even with an album out, that hasn't stopped the energetic rapper from finding the time encourage his 77,000-plus Twitter followers to say "F--- SeaWorld." He may have even accidentally posted an X-rated photo in between, but with so much going on these days, who knows.
Prepared for his next move, Sir Michael Rocks is just ready to start 'Bussin.' Get involved in the cool kid's movement as he talks Kanye West's influence, working on the new Marithé + François Girbaud campaign, sexting and even recites a rap he wrote at the age of 10.
The Boombox: Before we jump into the music and your new album, we have to talk about your most recent social media highlights. In honor of the film 'The Purge,' #TwitterPurge became a trending topic and you jumped in the conversation telling your 77,000 followers "think this girl bouta expose the d--- pics I sent her #twitterpurge."
Sir Michael Rocks: Yo, ya'll gotta get off my Twitter! That’s funny. But hell nah, I was just joking. I would never send a d--- pic. Man, I’m straight on that. I was just joking for the Twitterverse. Do girls even like that? Like booty pics from girls, or like some topless pictures... [that's different]. A d--- pic is like... It’s so aggressive. It’s like all in your face like 'Mmm! A d---!”
Well, now that that's out the way, let's talk about the solo album. It seems like you have a lot to say, especially about animals. One track is called 'F--- SeaWorld.' Were you mad that you didn't get to go as a kid?
The title basically comes from me watching [a] couple [of] documentaries like 'Blackfish,' and things of that nature, where they are very descriptive in the treatment and the housing arrangements of these big killer whales and dolphins and seals. All of these really intelligent mammals that are gigantic... and they got them in super small tanks that would be equal to a bathtub to us. It’s just pretty f---ed up, man. I’ve always been a kid that was into animals, and I thought I was like gonna be a zoologist up until the age of 12.
When I saw this documentary, I saw how these whales were being treated and I like really thought about it. They got these whales doing doing flips and clapping their hands -- all this cute little wild stuff -- but they’re used to being families with 10 or more whales; swimming hundreds of miles per day. To put them in these little tanks to do tricks really messes with their mentality. They know they’re not in the ocean anymore. They know they’re in a little bathtub. They get sick, they kill each other, they kill trainers and each act of aggression comes from being put in [an] unnatural situation. After I found this out, I was done with SeaWorld. That’s where ‘F--- SeaWorld’ came from.
Watch Sir Michael Rocks' 'F--- SeaWorld' Video
In the video, you have all the animals in red water at times. Was that to show their "dead" SeaWorld mentalities?
Yeah. I really wanted to try to use some symbolism, and [try] to get people to understand this s--- is bad. It’s not cute no more. Stop taking kids [on] field trips up here. I know kids love it, but at the end of the day this is 2014, man. We’re way too advanced to still be doing this type of barbaric [stuff] to such great creatures.
You post photos of animals and feature them in various videos including 'Memo.' Do you consider yourself to be an animal rights activist using your music as your platform?
Activist? Nah. There are people who dedicate their lives to being activists, and [getting involved] different protests. I’m just a rapper that really like[s] animals. I know a lot about them, and I just so happen to bring that into my music and into my visuals. [Maybe] I'm subliminally wishing I was an animal or something.
The biggest track on the album so far seems to be 'Bussin.' It sounds like you have a few throwback hip-hop samples on the song including a slowed down version of Lil Jon's 'Da Blow.'
Aw, man. Lil Jon would be so pissed. That ain’t Lil Jon. It's from 'Amittyville Horror Story,' or something like that. It’s like kinda creepy and s---, and yeah, we sampled it and it turned out to be a nice lil' club banger.
Watch Sir Michael Rocks' 'Bussin' Video Feat. Casey Veggies & IamSu!
You've lived all over the place, and your music style reflects that. Born in Chicago, moved to L.A., and now living in Miami. Do you try to incorporate all your regionally-influenced sounds in your music on purpose?
I think that I have a strong Chicago background in my music. I have a strong Chicago way of talking, and saying things. And for some reason I have always wanted to come down to Miami. I really like their pace of rapping. The rappers that are here now -- around my age and a little younger -- rap a little faster. They remind me of Twista and Do or Die; all this old Chicago stuff when Chicago used to rap really fast. So, it fit really well when I came down here. They kinda rap like Chicago used to rap. So I think it’s a good combination of the two.
Which rappers inspire your Chi-town influence?
Twista, Kanye and Lupe. Twista was the man when I was first starting to listen to music. I was probably about 7. My older brother he used to ride around bumping 'Adrenaline Rush.' I was rapping hella fast, tryna rap like Twista, and used to talk about shooting everybody and like selling drugs and all this wild stuff when I was like 9 [or] 10 years old. When [Kanye] first came out he set s--- off in a whole different way, [and Lupe] was able to bring a different point of view to Chicago rap that hadn’t been seen yet.
Do you remember one of your 10-year-old raps?
OK, OK, but this in no way, shape, or form represents the thoughts and opinions of Sir Michael Rocks of 2014.
“They call me the muthaf---in’ date rape drug / Poppin slugs [laughs] / Sendin’ bitch n----s straight to rugs / Leave 'em in a creek, not able to speak / Covered in bugs / See my Timbs? Yo, f--- yo Lugz / In the back of the club, load them clips / Know my name, show me the things you could do with your lips / With the hollow point tips / [Laughs] Up in the..." Aww, I forgot the rest, man.
How in the world did you come up with that at 10 years old?
Yo, I was f---ing corrupt!
So aside from your current music and reminiscing on your elementary school raps when you're not playing with animals, it seems like you're finding more ways to brand yourself. You tweeted about helping with the new Marithé + François Girbaud campaign.
When I was in like junior high and all that, Girbaud was the s---. Everybody had it. You remember the straps with the jeans and all that? I have an opportunity to help them out and try to bring them into 2014 in a cool way, and I’m down for it. I think with a little bit of expertise [and] a little bit of imagination, we can come up with something fresh and pop it back off.