rocky business: “people don’t dance no more”

February 28, 2011

If music is going to change, I can only cross my fingers and hope that people who know what they’re doing are going to lead the way. Bless the gods of the stereo for Rocky Business. I saw them by accident nearly a year ago and I still haven’t gotten over it. The foursome-of-rad have punky drums with poppy melodies, all brought together with fun rap verses. I’m normally the one to hate something like this, but the boys do it well and I think I figured out why it’s amazing; it’s probably because they don’t realize how killer they are. At least, that was my impression when I sat down with RB last week at Mercury Lounge for the release of the band’s latest mixtape “White People Are Drug Dealers Too”. Fifteen minutes before showtime, we shared a few laughs, I asked a few questions, after which they proceeded to bring the house down, if almost by accident. 


Rocky Business:  “People Don’t Dance No More”

Words Alex Gamlin


Sbeeze or SB or whatever his cousins call him and Jonny on The Rocks started it all, when Johnny was SB’s studio engineer in 2009. Ideas and schemes about collaborations started brewing, as they tend to do in a studio, and here they sit today as Rocky Business. Holding up the backbone of sound, members also include Cudoz on bass, and Rex on Drums. Together, they are something kind of special. When asked about “what their sound is?” I was met with the fast answer of “I don’t know yet”. Yes, it’s rock. Yes, it’s rap. Yes, it can even be pretty dancy. Since they have figured out how to make it work, I guess I don’t have a name for that either. Is “the future” a genre? It’s also very mature of a band, especially as a young band, to have a desire to grow your sound before there is an album. When you keep the kids guessing, you’ll keep the kids listening for more. Whatever it is, going to be, or striving to be, it sold out Mercury Lounge on a Wednesday, and had me getting a little sweaty.





Mercury Lounge is an important venue on Lower East Side, and frankly, pretty important to New York City in general. It’s tiny, it’s always packed, and it serves the purpose of “music before all”. Think of a band, any band, that has been to New York and there is a pretty strong chance they played Mercury right before they blew up. It’s an important stop for a band’s performance career and in building a strong new york fanbase. Let’s call it a venue where fans are born. Rocky Business sold the place out, so the New York fans aren’t the problem. Now is the time to build the live show. RB is kinda killing that too. High energy musicians from the bassist to back, impressive movement for such a tiny stage, and just the right amount of crowd participation before it becomes annoying. My biggest show-pet-peeve is anytime I hear the phrases “hands in the air, keep ’em up” and “where my ladies” and they said neither. I only find that particularly annoying because it’s just something to say when a band has nothing else to say, but clearly, RB is in no shortage of personality, originality, or interest. so I’m interested.


We talked about music for a while, and not just their music, but music in general. It’s something they think about in depth because their sound is one that is ever changing and alive; like music itself, I suppose. “Are there any pop artists you mess with” I asked, because there are delicate keyboards and poppy overtones in the retro-futuristic single “Rocky’s Anthem”. “I guess I like Katy Perry” SB answered nonchalantly, as if he could have answered anything since he probably messes with a lot of everything. It’s that acceptance and freedom that makes this band a band to fuck with. Who knows what they’ll be listening to or sounding like a year from now. I doubt they even know.

So to say again, Yes, it’s rock, yes, it’s rap, sure it’s pop, and yeah, it’s pretty dancy. The electric anthem “Kim Kardashian” invites you do do nothing dance. It’s all they’re asking. Music is fun again, and that counts a lot.

Download the new mixtape “White People are Drug Dealers Too”  which is bright, fun, and sure to bring you into springtime. Also, watch out for the debut EP “A Rebel’s Roar” March 22nd. Keep up with Rocky Business on twitter @rockybusiness

Can’t get enough Rocky Business or are you fine with “people not dancing no more, but just standing and looking like this…”? Hit us in the comments, on twitter @afropunk and me personally @alexohsnaps