(AllHipHop News) This week Chicago native Rockie Fresh stopped in New York City to perform a headlining show in Brooklyn and to celebrate his 22nd birthday (March 16). With his 5th mixtape, Electric Highway, still buzzing and more new music on the horizon, the Maybach Music Group member is ready to continue to raise his profile in the music world.
Rockie's 2012 mixtape, Driving 88, led to a bidding war that included Diddy's Bad Boy Records. In the end, the up-and-coming emcee signed with MMG. Even as the youngest rapper on one of the most commercially successful urban imprints in the business, Rockie is not worried about his brand of alternative rock-influenced Hip-Hop standing alongside the mafioso themed tales of Rick Ross, the street sound of Meek Mill, or the poetic approach of Wale.
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"MMG is full of people that are going to push me to want to go to that next level," says Rockie. "Wale is on his third album now. Meek is working on his second, and to just see all things they had to go through really gives me a lot of guidelines moving forward. I don't really feel no pressure. I'm more so excited to hit my stride like that too."
That first hand training has given Rockie the opportunity to learn about crafting songs from veteran hit makers. While having the reign to explore his own musical stylings, he works closely with Ross on his projects.
"When I want to branch out and do some different stuff, that's never shun," admits Rockie. "When me and [Ross are] talking and working on songs it's real experimental. He comes up with ideas. I try it. If it fits then we keep it. If it doesn't then we're man enough to be like, 'let's change it.' It's real open."
Recently, one of Ross' lyrical ideas spurred a lot of criticism. A line from his verse on Rocko's "U.O.E.N.O." that was viewed by some listeners as promoting rape led to protests and petitions, and eventually Reebok decided to end their partnership with the MMG leader because of the controversy.
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Several people in the Hip-Hop community have questioned whether the uproar over Ross' lyrics is leading to a slippery slope that could infringe on rapper's constitutional right of free speech. There is now a public discussion on these recent events will force artists to rethink portraying topics that some may see as inappropriate in their music going forward.
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"As far as my content I want to be as honest as I can be, and that's really my only stance on it," says Rockie. "Most of the stuff that I relate to in my lifestyle, I don't feel like I got a lot to watch."
Moving past the controversy, Ross' protégé joined forces with the boss and Lunice for the brand new single, "Panera Bread", off Rockie's upcoming The Birthday Tape. The video for the Ross assisted "Life Long" single featuring Nipsey Hussle is set to drop in the near future as well.
"[The 'Life Long' video] should be out sometime later this week or early next week. To let the people know, the sample that we used for that record is a song that's not out yet, and I've been having a little trouble clearing that... when it's done we're getting it to the people asap," reveals Rockie.
While the fans wait for the release of the "Life Long" visuals, Rockie wants to let his followers know that he's constantly working even if they don't hear new music from him as often as other artists.
"For me it's not about rushing. I always feel like it's quality over quantity," says Rockie. "I'm living in a time right now where people's attention spans are so short so everybody feels like they gotta drop stuff all day, and then fans feel like when an artist ain't dropping something then that means they ain't working. That's not how it goes. People are really taking time out to put something together that people really appreciate."
Select winners of Scion A/V's two-week social media sweepstakes will get to hear some of the young emcee's new material at his Public Assembly show tonight in Brooklyn. The performance will also be a belated birthday celebration for Rockie and everyone in attendance.
"I'm gonna be dropping some new records for the people, and it's also gonna be a real fun show. I really want to celebrate life."
For those who weren't able to win tickets to tonight's performance check out the trailer for the "Life Long" video and the video for "Nobody" off the Electric Highway mixtape below.