Last week we brought you “God Is Great,” the new video from Maybach Music Group’s promising young rapper Rockie Fresh. The Self Made 3 cut is just a small taste of what this guy is capable of, though. This year the DeLorean-obsessed 22-year-old dropped his first two MMG releases in the form of two solid mixtapes. Electric Highway and The Birthday Tape showed he’s not cut from the same cloth as the rest of the MMG roster. He’s just as comfortable discussing Chicago’s rap legacy as he is lauding the emotional clarity of Taylor Swift‘s songs, and he’s just as comfortable rapping over a warped chillwave sample as he is rapping over a creepy, minimalist stomp from Lunice.
Rockie recently stopped by Idolator’s New York office to talk about how he caught the attention of MMG bawse Rick Ross, what’s in store on his debut album and why he’s a big fan of Swift and Paramore. Check out the interview up top, and read on for more about the up-and-coming MC.
SOUNDS LIKE: He has the hazy sonics and emotional openness of Kid Cudi, minus the droning singing, and with the unpolished flow of early Kanye West and a little touch of Ye’s 808s-era sensitivity.
Rockie Fresh — ”Nobody”
INFLUENCES: ”It’s a wide range: Kanye, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, John Mayer, Paramore, The-Dream, Lupe Fiasco,” Rockie told us. “But Rick Ross has always been a huge inspiration for me even before I was doing music because the way he put his message out like you wanted to live that lifestyle. It was something to look forward to, and for me to be a part of it now and see how real it is — despite people’s beliefs, everything he talks about is really on point with the way he lives. Just all of those guys, their realness, how serious they take their sound, the instrumentation that they choose — that’s what I wanna be looked at in my own way.”
ROCKIE’S ROCK MOVES: Rockie toured with Fall Out Boy‘s Patrick Stump and is an avowed fan of alternative rock and indie pop. So we asked him if he’d ever do a full-on rock album, a la Weezy and Cudi. “I definitely would do something like that but I don’t think I’ll let people know that it’s gonna be a rock album,” he said. “I feel like somewhere down the line in my career, that type of project is going to happen and I don’t wanna scare people when I put it out. I just wanna make sure that the music is so on point that you get something different than you expected but you appreciate it for what it is.”
ALWAYS IMPROVING: Electric Highway was a great introduction to the rapper, and turned out to be a pleasant curveball from MMG’s prior output. But Rockie’s not satisfied. “That’s one of those projects that I’ll always appreciate it for what it was, but at the same time there’s so much better music to come from me. Just way better sounds that I’mma capture, and I’m glad that I got that one out the way.”
DREAM COLLABORATIONS: Rockie knows exactly what he wants to do when he gets to the top. ”I definitely wanna work with Kanye, definitely wanna work with J. Cole, of course Hayley Williams and Taylor Swift. Lil Wayne, that’s probably one of my favorite rappers. I feel like in due time all of that stuff will come,” he said. “I’m grinding in the sense that I’ve seen how the game works where people that don’t get respect one year, five years later are like on top of the entire rap game. So I’m just taking it slow, the blessings that come to me at this age I’m making the best out of them and anything that I don’t have I’ll be looking to get it in the future.”
WHAT’S NEXT: ”I’m doing shows and just working on the Self Made 3 project, and also gathering beats for my album,” Rockie said. “The first thing that’s always important is to make sure a project is cohesive, and to have the instrumentals that you wanna use ahead of time. You gotta have a framework. So that’s what I’m doing now, just looking for the best production, whether it’s me and my team working, whether it’s another producer that sends me something. The Self Made process is very intense, I record new records every day — two to three songs every day. So it’s been dope man, I’m enjoying it and working hard.”
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