By Rashad D. Grove
(AllHipHop Features) Rockie Fresh first came on the scene after signing with Maybach Music Group, a partnership that would ultimately fade like the snap from Thanos. Nevertheless, the Chi-Town native dropped several acclaimed mixtapes that created a major buzz because of his descriptive stories and versatile lyricism. After taking some time away, Rockie is back with the intention of creating legacy in Hip-Hop and beyond.
I sat down to talk with Rockie about his new partnership with Rostrum, how becoming a father has changed him, his love of alternative Rock music, and preparing for his debut project entitled Destination.
AllHipHop: Chicago has such great history of being a great music town. So many Hip-Hop legends like Common, No I.D., Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco and many others come from the “Windy City.” How has growing up in Chicago and that legacy of music inspired you as an artist?
Rockie Fresh: It inspired me a lot you know, coming up. You got guys like Common who took it to another level. You got No I.D. who started labels and has been the president of certain things and he introduced us to Kanye. So, I think, my legacy in Chicago is first, to always make quality music and to try to keep a storyline with it. And to take the success from that and start reaching out and helping other people. That's where I'm at now with everything. So yeah, Chicago is a dog eat dog type of city, but also, you know, when you play in your role right, you can get a lot of help from other people around too.
Also, Lupe Fiasco influenced me. I think he’s is one of the most underrated lyricists. His early stuff had a huge impact on me. I gotta give a shout out to the Cool Kids who are a little bit newer. I went to high school in the south suburbs so, we were in the same high school area. I'll say Mikey Rock and Chuck Inglish who’s from Detroit, we came up in the same suburb area so just to see the moves they made really inspired me a whole lot.
AllHipHop: I read about your relationship with Good Charlotte and Fall Out Boy Yeah. He did you connect with those groups?
Rockie Fresh: Yeah! All of that came about in supernatural way. When I went to high school in the suburbs, I was introduced to alternative rock music. A part of it was just me joking around, trying to holla at the girls in school. Then I grew to love the music and those two became my favorite bands.
I did this show called the Bamboozled Festival in New Jersey. Joel Madden, the older brother in Good Charlotte ended up seeing my show told his brother about me and they flew me out to LA. We started working on music and then we just built a strong relationship. Then I dropped my second mixtape called The Other Side and Patrick Stump, the lead singer for Fall Out Boy, heard the mixtape and took me on out on my first tour.
AllHipHop: You started with Maybach Music Group and being around Rick Ross, Wale, and Meek Mill. What kind of learning experience was that for you?
Rockie Fresh: I learned so much being with MMG, especially how hard those guys really work. All of them were a lot more successful than I was by the time I got on the label so just to see the work ethic made me work twice as hard just to you know, keep up with what was going on around me. A lot of people probably didn't realize that I got to be on tour with Wale as his opener and I was the opener for Meek Mill on the Dreams and Nightmares tour. So, just being able to go on the road and to see the day-to-day operations on what it took to be an artist at that level and to enjoy yourself as an artist was crazy.
Ross is a very serious dude, but he loves to have a good time too. He takes care of his people. Ross always put us in a position to make money to take care of our families and that’s the mindset I’m taking to Rostrum. I feel like I'm more mature now. I can really stand alone and do more things for myself. I got a great team around me and I got my head on straight and I know what I want to do versus sitting around watching what everybody else.
AllHipHop: Rostrum has a strong track record with Wiz Khalifa and the late Mac Miller. I think it’s a great fit for you because you have that introspective, retrospective kind of approach. How did you cultivate that style?
Rockie Fresh: Yeah, when I go to make music, I like to speak only on the things that I'm realizing in my life and things I'm learning. I think it makes for good stories.
AllHipHop: You have several tracks with Chris Brown and you two have great chemistry together. How did yall meet?
Rockie Fresh: I've been a fan of his since he first came out and I remember “Run It” debuting on 106 and Park on BET. I was a high school when I saw it. Hit-Boy had me come out to LA to work on some music at the Record Plant. One of Chris’s homies came through to say what's up and then he recognized me and said, “Yo, you Rockie Fresh? Me and homie Chris been listening to your music.” I didn't even put two and two together.
Then he said he wanted me to meet him and we was walking into the next room and Chris Brown was right there. He was like, “Bro, I been rocking to your music and we need to do something.” So, it started like that, just really organic. From that meeting, I ended up hanging out with them a lot more and we built a strong brotherhood and so the music does come together super easy.
AllHipHop: I read that you had a conversation with Jay Z about legacy and fatherhood. How has fatherhood changed you as an artist?
Rockie Fresh: Man, fatherhood has definitely made me increase my work ethic even more. I thought I was working hard before but then when I look at my daughter, to see are growing and our interactions, it's like you really want to figure things out at a much faster pace. And that talk with Jay-Z really had me focusing on a lot more on the long-term. I think like we get caught up in a lot of instant gratification with our careers instead of looking at the long term of effects of what we’re really doing. It's really about creating that legacy for our family, our friends and J’s done such an amazing job. He turned so many people into millionaires. So, you know, he looked at me like, “Go harder for my daughter and for everybody.”
AllHipHop: Is there difference in your preparation from doing mixtapes versus working on your forthcoming debut project?
Rockie Fresh: I think just being with in new situation with Rostrum you know, it lights a new fired under me. Being around good people that have a high energy about your music, creating in new places, like that's why I ended up getting that house because I wanted new surroundings. I think I always approached my music trying to make it sound like my debut album because I never knew he was going hear it. And I think that's how I ended up getting my deal with Ross.
AllHipHop: “No Satisfaction” is a hot track with a beautiful visual. Tell me the creative process behind coming up with the concept of the song and video.
Rockie Fresh: We shot that in Hollywood. I had some producers come through and it was like non-stop work, so we didn't party, and we were recording all day. “No satisfaction” was one of the records that came out of it and then we decided to shoot a video. With the house and the scenery, we wanted the video to show what we aspire to be and have in life.
AllHipHop: What can we expect when you release your debut?
Rockie Fresh: The title of the album is Destination and basically people gonna see my maturity but also diversity. I got dope features on there, shout out to Tory Lanez, 24hrs, and of course Chris Brown. So yeah, everyone’s going to get a real solid, cohesive but diverse body of work.