This past summer saw the release of The Cool Kids’ long awaited debut album, When Fish Ride Bicycles.  The product proved to be an updated rendering of the modest 1980’s boom-bap style the Midwest Duo garnered acclaim for after their 2008 EP The Bake Sale. With his latest solo mixtape, Premier Politics, Sir Michael Rocks has evolved his own style, experimenting with original production from the likes of Cardo, The Alchemist, and Ski Beatz.

Sir Michael’s good-natured braggadocio has a different vibe on this project, with the Chi-town native opting for more ornate backdrops than the minimalist Chuck Inglish beats his fans are used to. Playful lines like “I never lazy, Tracy Mcgrady,” are the kind of quirky wordplay that’s vintage Mikey, but with the more elaborate production values here, it comes out even more boastful.  But whether its accompanied by the buoyancy of Cardo, the blaring horns of The Alchemist, or the warped, languid sound of Ski Beatz featured on “Get It Together,” Michael’s delivery comes out smooth and effortless. In particular, the group effort involving the collaboration with LA up and comer, Casey Veggies, results in one of the stronger cuts of the mixtape. Other memorable moments include the catchy “Cell Dope,” and the jazzy “I Can’t Go,” which samples the 1970s soul record “Lost on 23rd Street” by Johnny Hammond.

At times the subject matter of girls and gear gets a little tired, but still, there’s fun to be had with lines like “I’m on an ocean-liner fishin’ for yellow tail and barramundi/ Spent a hundred on a pair of undies.” The project carries this same fun loving tone throughout and while Premier Politics might not have the same unique sound of The Cool Kids, it highlights the extent to which Sir Michael Rocks is on his way of crafting one of his own.  —Neil Martinez-Belkin