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Mixtape Review: Rockie Fresh’s “Driving 88″

Rockie Fresh (AHH)

Rating: 8/10

One of the easier things to do when hearing a new artist is to compare them to things one may have already heard. Some things are just easier to label when categorized, so don’t be surprised when you hear critics comparing Rockie Fresh to Curren$y or Wiz Khalifa because of his initial sound. After getting past that, however, it becomes clear to see why there’s a growing buzz concerning his music – the short reason being simple: it’s really good. With the number of people observing his fast-expanding movement now more than ever, Rockie delivers a great entry into his growing catalog with Driving 88, proving that he deserves every bit of the buzz he’s been building on his own.

Named after the Illinois Interstate 88, Driving 88 as a whole is as smooth-flowing as driving the highway itself (minus the rush-hour traffic, of course). All of the tracks seem to flow together rather well, and the production – although at times eclectic – never feels out of place with the overall mellow vibe of project. The features here are all nice in their own right as well; Casey Veggies delivers a solid verse on the title track, Rebecca Jordan’s vocals sets the song “Don’t Worry” off in a good way, King Louie rambles charismatically through his 16 bars on “How We Do”, and Phil Ade delivers a brash verse in contract to Rockie’s smooth raps on “Where I Wanna Be.”

All of that is impressive, but not as much as the man of the hour himself. The features are nice in their own right, but even without them Rockie Fresh would’ve been just fine. He delivers dope verses throughout, occasionally even dropping knowledge or incredible lines within the bars stealthily (case in point, on “Never Never” he spits, “If you say you got a gift, make ‘em appreciate your presence”, which plays off the gift/present auditory illusion) . He uses punchlines, but he doesn’t rely on them heavily (a la Fabolous, no diss), and he always seems to have a purpose for what he’s spitting.

All of this comes together to deliver an incredibly well-done project in Driving 88. The production fits Rockie’s style like a glove, and combined with all of the aforementioned elements, it’s a project that’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a new artist to add to your iPod/MP3 Player/Zune rotation… if you still have a Zune for whatever reason. Give Rockie Fresh a spin.

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