Sir Michael Rocks

You probably know him as one half of the Cool Kids, but Mikey Rocks is all grown up. Sure, he’s still cooler than me (or you), but his newest persona offers a smoother, calmer incarnation of his former self.  The beats on his solo effort Lap of Lux favor a lush, glamourous sound; both help to paint another potrait of an emcee that we’re still just getting to know.After all, he and Cool Kids counterpart Chuck Inglish only broke onto blog scene in 2008. A lot has happened since then.

Lap of Lux comes shortly after Rocks’ signing to Curren$y’s Jet Life imprint early this year. The mixtape adopts an aesthetic that has been taken to its logical extreme by current crusaders like Rick Ross, among the many others before him. Rocks finds a comfortable, if decidedly less assertive, level of grandeur for his outing. It’s not as if Michael is shy; over a Mano production (one of the most bizarre beats I’ve heard in a while), he lets us know what he’s about on “The Best.”

Flosstradamous, Hit-Boy, and Inglish are also among the producers contributing to the effort. The set opens with “Now You Do,” a mesmerizingly slowed-down dancefloor jam that stands tough. You already knew a song with a name like ”Good Sushi” would bounce hard. Casey Veggies and Tris J eventually drop by for some more-entertaining-than-notable quotes on “The Clique.”

The tape is noticeably less informed by the old school than “I’m Mikey”-era Mikey, and stays grounded in the club tradition. “Gettin’ calls / gettin’ texts / gettin’ neck” is the game now. Inevitably, some listeners will prefer the MC of old, but Sir Michael is still young and havin’ fun. The only difference? He’s legal now.

-Dylan Grier