If you’re really good or really lucky (coughKanyeWestcough), you can get both at once. Rocky Business’ seven-song EP, “A Rebel's Roar,” skews toward the art, with a few pit stops in the nonsense.
I mention it because the rap/pop duo is really good at club-thumpin’ nonsense when it wants to be. Non-EP single “Kim Kardashian” is an energetic blast of ridiculous, with the hollered chorus, “People don’t dance no more! They just stand there like this!”
Rocky Business don’t ever delve into that mode here, but they do drop “Find Away,” a punk-and-horns-fueled track that even uses an old-school ska up-strum in the verse. It’s easily the most fun to be had on the EP. The rapid-fire “Army of Love” calls up early OutKast in rapping and production. The track falls in nicely behind “Find Away” on the fun-o-meter.
The rapping is quick and smooth throughout, whether in the chilled-out “Burning Dust” or the K’Naan-esque hip-hop of “America.” “Rocky’s Theme” drops in some electro-inspired indie and an indie-rock chorus to place raps around, while “Glide” is as close to a modern rap track as Rocky Business gets, what with the autotune, buzzing synths and snapping percussion.
Other than “Glide,” these songs are not jamz that will end up in clubs or on the radio; or perhaps the duo is on to something I’m not, and they’re joining up the critical and the popular somewhere past me.
This debut is a good taste of what they can do, but it’s not a defined statement of anything. I look forward to their next proper release to see which of many possible directions this talented duo will go. —Stephen Carradini