How popular is "Rock Star"? A few weeks ago, Bankhead trio Shop Boyz netted a recording deal with Universal Republic simply because of the song's current ubiquity. You can't enter an Atlanta rap club, or turn on a local urban station, without hearing it played -- sometimes several times in a row.
Produced by Pit, "Rock Star" is wrapped around three perfunctory raps that simply get you to the next chanted chorus: "Party like a rock star/Totally dude!" It taps into a strange cultural moment within the black music world. This spring, R. Kelly and several others will release songs titled "Rock Star." They hearken toward the fantasy of total hedonistic abandon, getting wasted and fucking shit up as the record industry implodes. As Pharrell Williams put it on N.E.R.D.'s "Rock Star" five years ago, "It's almost over now."
But is it the end or the beginning for Shop Boyz? Bankhead has a rep for acts with hot singles that can't subsequently get to the next level (think Trap Squad, Ben Hill Squad, etc.) But Meany says during a session at Patchwerk Studios, "We got a lot of songs, good songs that everyone's going to like. So everybody should be prepared for that." In the background, you can hear someone chanting in the studio, "I'm a rock star."
Draped in studded jeans and a prominent silvery chain, Meany looks the part. (The other two members, Fat and Sheed, demonstrate proper rock-star behavior by missing the interview.) He seems nonplussed by his song's breakout success. "We were in the studio, just making songs like we always do. We just came up with that, so we ran with that," Meany says. "We go to the club a lot, and we were like, 'We gonna party hard.' So 'party like a rock star' just came in. 'Cause rock stars party hard – you know that."
Shop Boyz has been together for two years. The group is recording a debut album that, if all goes to plan, will drop later this year. "It's going to be an album full of energy," Meany says. "It'll be good."