Sir Michael Rocks

It wouldn't be a stretch to call The Cool Kids the originators of hipster rap. The duo, made up of producer/MC Chuck Inglish and MC Mikey Rocks, closely followed Kanye in a trend-setting parade of skinny jeans, and inspired a new wave of MCs who were cool with embracing the culture, streetwear and sounds of the 90's. As the Kids caught major attention and traction with EPs like Totally Flossed Out and The Bake Sale, their career stalled because of label issues and a growing number of groups who essentially copied their sound.

Still, the duo—who's been on a hiatus since their oft-delayed 2011 debut album When Fish Ride Bicycles—has continued to stay hard at work on new music, only now through solo ventures. Since Bicycles, Inglish has expanded on his production catalogue by working with artists like Buddy, Asher Roth and Two9, and has put out two beat mixtapes and an EP. Meanwhile, Mikey Rocks—who now goes by the regal moniker Sir Michael Rocks—has worked on songs with Curren$y and Mac Miller and has dropped a handful of diversely great solo mixtapes. His next effort is While You Wait..., a mixtape that'll serve as an interim project before the release of Banco, an EP Rocks has teased for close to a year.

During a stop in NYC, Sir Michael stopped by the XXL offices to play the staff some new (banging) music off While You Wait and took some time out to walk us through the awesome cover art off some of his personal projects. Needless to say, dude's a visionary.


The Cool Kids - Gone Fishing

"Chuck did that. He sketched it, then we had a guy clean it up. I think that's the best project we dropped, that was our best one. The fish is so sad…he's not having no fun at all. He's trying to find himself, there's a deep meaning. The fish thing came from an episode of Fresh Prince, where Carlton was trying to go to the Playboy mansion and Uncle Phil was like, 'Yeah, you can go, when fish ride bicycles!' And then we were like, 'Ohhhh, there it is.' But the title for Gone Fishing was created after the title for When Fish Ride Bicycles, and we just wanted to stay with the fish theme."


The Cool Kids - When Fish Ride Bicycles 

"The original art was better than that, but they wouldn't let us do what the fuck we wanted to do. It was a random picture of this Chinese guy in an alley, with the fish on the bike riding by. But we didn't know who the guy was, so we couldn't get the picture released by him. It was dope, though. It was in an alley, and it was a real reaction because it was just a random dude on his break from work with his apron on, and then we had our homie ride up on the bike with the costume on and just stand by this dude, so this dude was just like looking at him. The artwork that you see isn't as natural or in-the-moment as the original one."


Sir Michael Rocks - The Rocks Report  

"That was the first solo cover. But man, I really just bit The Robb Report magazine, if you look at the font. I bit them, then there was this dope hotel in Chicago that I always went by, and I was like, 'Man, let me take a picture in front of this shit and look like I'm coming out the house.' And it worked out. That was the introduction to Sir Michael Rocks. 25 or 26 songs, I forgot how many songs I put on that shit, I was just so excited to rap some shit that I put every song I had on that shit."


Sir Michael Rocks - Premier Politics 

"I came up with that whole shit. I saw some YouTube video of a chick riding a zebra and I was like, 'What the fuck?' Then I was like, 'Mannnn, what if some niggas was playing polo on the zebras? That'd be even harder.' That was a nice one. That's quite a cover right there. I don't know how I got to that video on YouTube, but it came up and I was just like, 'Oh shit. Y'all done fucked up now.' Let me put 'em on polo zebras."


Sir Michael Rocks - Lap Of Lux 

"I do this thing now where I like to vary it up every project, so if I just did a cover that's photography, I want to do a graphic on the next one. Then I might go back to photography, then graphics. I just want to switch it up every time. But that look on this cover, I can't ever wear that again, it's retired. I still got it though, I should give it to somebody so they could be me for Halloween. That's the only problem with doing photography, once you wear that outfit, it's over. Even if you like that outfit you can never wear it again."


Sir Michael Rocks - While You Wait… 

"This one is basically self-explanatory. You're in the waiting room, man. It's the waiting room while you wait for this Banco shit. That's some DMV somewhere, the seat got a whole in it, you got the old couple sitting there. It look like you about to wait, that's why I was like, 'I need this cover.' It's really like a brownish room, and I was like, 'That's cool, but what if I just changed it to all blue?' I just like the blue tone. That old couple looks like they've been waiting forever."

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