It’s been almost half a decade since Sir Michael Rocks became a recognizable hip-hop name, thanks to his entrance in the game alongside Chuck Inglish as part of The Cool Kids. Of late, he’s established himself as an individual identity, stepping out as a solo artist and flipping his moniker from Mikey Rocks to his current handle. With his latest street album, Lap of Lux, the Chicago rapper strengthens his solo catalogue.
Airy beats and Rocks’ natural, effortless delivery over them account for an easy and enjoyable listen throughout the release, with Wiz Khalifa’s Kush & OJ being the obvious reference point—a fact particularly clear on cuts like “Reservations,” produced by Cardo (of Kush & OJ fame). The project is lavish and extravagant, both in sounds and content, as the fashion-forward talent’s tastes trickle onto tracks with consistency. Whether its his eclectic palate swooning over “butterfly lobster, good sushi” on “Good Sushi” or the “Cris or that Clicquot” with “six cell phones” that he boasts about on the Hit-Boy-produced “You Know What,” the young rapper’s interests are reflected all over the project.
The occasional use of auto-tune, on cuts like “In The Loop,” isn’t overly intolerable, but it’s a tactic that Mikey doesn’t need to use as a crutch. Instead, it’s the loose-though-not-lackadaisical flow that is Banco Populair’s specialty. Though the mixtape still misses the opportunity for an overdue breakout single for the MC, simple, infectious hooks have been Mikey’s forte since his days as one half of The Cool Kids, and they’re the backbone here, too. —NMB