Sir Michael Rocks is a 32 year old rapper from Matteson, Illinois, who is most well know for his work as one half of the hiphop duo ‘The Cool Kids’. He formed cool kids with rapper Chuck Inglish in 2005 when the 2 met on MySpace after Rocks found a beat Inglish had produced. They began as a production duo and planned to only make beats for other rappers, but eventually the 2 began rapping in sessions and it stuck. They started getting a bit of buzz in 2007 when they met Diplo, who helped them to release a mixtape of their unreleased tracks. That year they collaborated with Lil Wayne, performed some big festival shows, and signed a recording contract with Chocolate Industries and C.A.K.E. In 2008 they released their first proper single ‘Black Mags’, which generated a lot of buzz and was even featured in a tv commercial. They released their first commercial release ‘The Bake Sale’ EP in June 2008, and later that year headlined the ‘NBA 2k Bounce Tour’ alongside rapper Q-Tip. In 2009 the duo released their second mixtape in May, titled ‘Gone Fishing’ & then followed that up with their third mixtape ‘Tacklebox’ in May of 2010. In July of 2012 the duo released their debut studio album ‘When Fish Ride Bicycles’, an album boasting production from The Neptune’s and features from artists such as Bun B & Ghostface Killah. The album peaked at number 76 on the Billboard 200 and was their most successful effort yet.
By this point The Cool Kids were quite well known in the hip hop scene, and it was at this point that Sir Michael Rocks began to embark on a career as a solo artist (while still making music as The Cool Kids). Between 2011 and 2013 he released a total of 6 free mixtapes, and featured as a guest on songs by other artists such as Mac Miller, Rapsody & Dizzy Wright. He released his first solo album ‘Banco’ in July of 2014, stacked with features such as Mac Miller, Twista & Too $hort. He followed Banco with a couple of EP’s which didn’t gain much traction, Populair in 2015 & Part 2 in 2016. Over the next couple of years he kept a bit of a presence with a number of features and some work as The Cool Kids, and then throughout 2018 and 2019 Sir Michael Rocks has been working with producer Owen Bones as the duo ‘MYSTERY SCHOOL’.
And that brings us to now! On January 17th 2020 Sir Michael Rocks released his second full length solo album ‘Broken Window Of Oppurtunity’. The album is 13 tracks long, only has 2 features, and was dropped without much promotion at all. Below I’ll review the album in 2 parts, first will be a track by track review, which will be my informal and unedited notes on each track as I was listening, and following that will be my thoughts on the album as a whole. I’ll include some links to listen to the album and some discussion questions at the end. Enjoy!
Track By Track Review
1. Open The Vault – Some great lyrics and storytelling, decent flows and a solid delivery too. Beat is kinda simple but enjoyable, the bass hits at the right times and the main synths are real pleasant. Whole song has an awesome flow to it, some good quotables too. Enjoyable track
2. Mo Money (ft. Shorty K) – Another simple yet enjoyable beat, some great flows at the start of the song. First verse is real nice, decent flow and some solid bars and rhyme schemes. Enjoyable and catchy little hook. Second verse is great, real impressive rhymes and more enjoyable flows and delivery. Great song, real chill vibes
3. Art Show (ft. Mickey Factz) – The melodies at the start are nice, but nothing too special or exciting. Flows aren’t too exciting on the verses but aren’t bad, some really funny bars and lots more quotables. The lyrics and rapping are actually quite good, but the song feels lacking. Decent track
4. You Can Do It – Beat has these eerie distorted synths that are interesting but the beat overall is quite basic. Some quite impressive rapping on the verses, real solid flows and some more great rhymes and bars. Liked the hook more each time, strange melody but I liked it, short and sweet. Wish the skit at the end was a separate track. On the fence about this
5. Ice Skate – Most simple beat so far, is crafted real well around the vocals though. Love the part where the beat is stripped back to just the drums. Great lyrics and a really enjoyable flow, gets quite personal at times. Hook sounds super nice, catchy with a great melody. Second verse is amazing too, some of the best rapping on the project so far. Great gunshot ad-libs. Really enjoyable song overall
6. Can’t Call It – 22 second intro that isn’t too necessary. Super basic beat again. Flows are solid but the delivery is a bit boring in this one. Hook isn’t too good, quite boring. More enjoyable delivery on the second verse, much better verse all round. Song drags on too long too, average song
7. Punchin – Interesting track, basic beat and real repetitive hook which isn’t too good. The beat is more exciting than the last one at least, intriguing synth. First verse is average, second verse has some good bars and rhyme schemes. Probably least favourite so far
8. No Me Toca – Beat has these old school carnival vibes, is okay at first but doesn’t really change up at all. This is another funny one, lots of great bars and some solid flows too. Hook is interesting, I think I like it. On the fence about this one too
9. First I – Beat bumps, easily the best of the last 5 beats. The slightly autotuned delivery from Sir Michael sounds great on this, and he rides the beat really well. Hook is catchy, enjoyable, and quite different. Second verse is crazy enjoyable, loved his flows and delivery, with more quality bars too. Really enjoyable track
10. Exotica Maximum – Enjoyable melodies on the hook, sounds nice but drags on too long. First verse is just okay, nothing bad but nothing exciting either. Second verse is considerably more enjoyable, has this smooth flow that reminiscent of 6lack at times. Another skit at the end that should’ve been separate. Okay song
11. Overload – Beautiful melodies on the hook, quite catchy too. Beat is simple but mellow, and Sir Michael rides it excellently. Great delivery and bars on the first verse. Second verse is real enjoyable too, more of the same with some amazing bars and rhymes as well.
12. Tryna Hide – Super addictive flow and delivery on the hook, crazy catchy. Love the storytelling at times, and the bars and delivery had this real grimy, evil feel at times. Another simple beat but really sets the mood for the track. Amazing second verse too, just really enjoyable all the way through, great rhymes. Loved this song
13. Sometimes – Aquatic ass beat, is interesting. Some okay flows and average delivery. Some quality personal bars from Sir Michael, and he switched it up on the hook, really enjoy the contrast and the hook as a whole. Song gets better as it progresses, Beat is actually super captivating. Second verse is solid, more great bars and rhymes but an enjoyable delivery too. Good song in the end
Overall I was very impressed with this album an with Sir Michael Rocks’ contributions to the project. I wouldn’t say this is an impeccable album or AOTY quality or anything, but it was far better than I was expecting and certainly an above average effort and an enjoyable project as a whole. Sir Michael has been on my radar for a long time, I first heard him in 2008 on The Bloody Beetroots song Awesome, and he has constantly been popping up on my radar over the last 12 years, but I’ve honestly never really been a fan. I liked him enough to peep an album of his in 2014 (Banco) but thought the highlights were the production and the features, not Sir Michael himself. So going into this album I was expecting decent beats but not too much else (considering the lack of features). With all that being said, the production was pretty much as I expected, but the bars, flows, and delivery from Sir Michael were far more impressive than I thought they would be, and he provided almost all of the albums highlights himself.
For someone who thought he would enjoy 1 or 2 tracks I was super shocked when I ended up enjoying 7 of the 13 tracks, and being on the fence about 3 of the other 6. With a bunch of thoroughly enjoyable songs and a few other decent tracks this album had lots of highlights. Some of my favourite moments were; The amazing storytelling approach on songs like ‘Open The Vault’ & ‘Ice Skate’, loved the slightly autotuned delivery on ‘First I’, Sir Michaels beautiful melodic flows on ‘Overload’, the overall vibe of ‘Tryna Hide’ (maybe my favourite song), & how personal and relatable Sir Michael is on songs such as ‘Ice Skate’ & ‘Sometimes’. So that just proves my point really that Sir Michael Rocks himself is the best part of this album, with him showcasing his versatility in regards to his flows, delivery, and subject matter. One other thing I have to mention is how great some of these hooks are, there are a number of exceptional hooks throughout this project, with Sir Michael really flexing his ability to craft a catchy and unique hook.
This album didn’t really have many noticeably bad things, just some mediocrity and songs that weren’t quite enjoyable enough to want to revisit. My main gripe with this project was that ~3 songs had skits at the end which I’m not a fan of, would have preferred them to be separate tracks in same vain as the interludes on Eminem’s most recent album. I didn’t like the hook on ‘Can’t Call It’, I thought ‘Punchin’ was average all the way through, and I felt like the hook of ‘Exotica Maximum’ was dragged on a bit too long, but other than those I found everything on the album to be at least average. The production was far from being the most exciting of the year, but that’s more so an ode to the quality of production in 2020. There weren’t any songs I thought had bad beats, but some were a bit simple and there weren’t a lot of exciting beats or moments, were just basic and enjoyable throughout the album.
So in the end it’s fair to say this is the project that has made me a fan of Sir Michael Rocks. Pretty much everything he contributed to the album exceeded my expectations, with a whole range of impressive flows and bars, as well as a number of impeccably crafted hooks. He isn’t most impressive lyricist, doesn’t have the most unique voice, and doesn’t have the most exciting flows, but he really proved he knows how to make spectacular songs and that’s the most important thing of all. I’d say this is quite an accessible album and if you’re after something to fill some time this is an easy listen to get through and super enjoyable on top. Personally I was going to skip this album but I’m glad I didn’t, probably in my top 3 albums (out of 7) for the week.
Or you can listen to it for free on YouTube here!
My favourite songs were Open The Vault, Mo Money, Ice Skate, First I, Overload, Tryna Hide & Sometimes.
What were your favourite songs from Broken Window Of Opportunity?
Does Sir Michael Rocks have much old music that’s worth a listen?
Thanks for reading!
– Shan –