Sir Michael Rocks Gets All "Respect Nature" and "Be Yourself" on Debut Solo Album Banco
You can't buy an all-over Nascar t-shirt with a picture of Chief Keef talking into a fat stack of Benjamins like it's a cellphone, but you might see one on Sir Michael Rocks as he rolls through Kendall.
The Chicago-bred rapper made the shirt himself, and he did actually sell a few through his apparel site, Exotic Gourmet. Unfortunately, Chief Keef is no longer available, but you can get shirts covered in video game controllers, old Nickelodeon cartoon logos, or one with Ekans and baseball bats.
Some people might find his style a bit odd, but Sir Michael Rocks doesn't care anymore.
"I'm very hands on with everything that involves me, from t-shirts and clothing designs to flyers, album artwork, my photos, my videos," he says. "I came to the realization over the past couple of mixtapes that I've made that I always get the best response when I do what I want to do."
He applied that same reasoning and mix-and-match nostalgia to his debut solo album, Banco, just released through his label 6 Cell Phones. It's 15 tracks of energetic jams, goofy skits, Nintendo samples, and hot lines. It's also got some seriously dope features from Twista, Too $hort, Trinidad James, Mac Miller, and more.
As one half of The Cool Kids, he's had a steady fan base since the late 2000s, and he's released a bunch of mixtapes on his own, but with Banco, he's reintroducing himself to the world.
"With this album, I was just fulfilling my purpose," he says, "fulfilling my own personal purpose of why I'm making music, what I do it for, which is to help people feel good about being who they are, being themselves, to make that cool again. To make it cool to be comfortable being yourself no matter what you do, what you're into, no matter how weird people think it is or how stupid people think it is, enjoy yourself, be you and bask in that."
He wasn't always so confident, but the process of making this album was a real journey, both emotionally and physically. He started Banco in Chicago, moved to L.A. for about a year, and ultimately finished recording in his new home in Miami.
"I was getting ready to move into a new place in L.A.," he says, "I was just thinking to myself and I was on twitter (looking at) all the people that I'm talking to, and I was like 'yo, I don't even really talk to a lot of people in LA. Everybody I talk to is my friends that live in Miami.'"
Robb Bank$ and Pouya appear on the track "Kill Switch," and he's featured on "Shepherd" by Denzel Curry & Nell. The videos for Banco tracks "Memo" and "Fuck SeaWorld" were filmed in the Everglades and the Miami Seaquarium respectively. Already the move is paying off.
"Go to where you want to be, where you're going to make the best music," he says. "I can do what I'm doing anywhere I want to be. All I'm doing is putting shit up on the Internet. As long as I have Wi-Fi, I'm pretty sure I can just do that."