Interview: Rockie Fresh Talks Maybach Music Deal, Chicago Hip-Hop, and His Upcoming Mixtape

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It’s weird how things work out sometimes. When we first heard Rockie Fresh, it was back in 2010. He had a track sampling the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and even more surprising: Rich Hil was singing on the chorus. The song was called “Otherside.” Fast forward almost two years and here we are talking about Rockie Fresh as the newest member of Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group.

The funniest thing is that back in 2010 when we got the email for that first Rockie Fresh song we ever heard, it came with a message that read, “Here’s your chance to say you knew him when…” Well damn, he called that, huh? He’s come a long way since then, but besides being taken in by one of the biggest names in hip-hop, he insists that not much has changed. It’s hard to believe until you start talking to him and realize that signing to MMG doesn’t turn you into a larger-than-life rap character overnight. He’s still that young, hungry artist from Chicago. He’s just about to be a lot more famous.

Interview by Brendan Klinkenberg 

I’m sure you know that the first thing that everyone’s going to ask about is the Maybach Music signing.

Congratulations, by the way.
Thank you very much, I appreciate you guys holding me down, too. You were posting my music well before that was even in the works.

Oh, no problem [Laughs]. How long was that deal in the works before it ended up being official?
I would say about a month. It was in the works for like a month.

That seems pretty quick.
Yeah. I just kept it real low key, though, ’cause I didn’t really want to put anyone else that was involved with it at the time on the spot, [and] because there were a lot of other labels that were reaching out to me at the time that Rick Ross hit me up. I didn’t want to damage any relationships with anybody and keep things smooth and, you know, not make the situation bigger than it needed to be.

But me and him had been working it out for about a month. We had been really talking, going back and forth for that time frame and yeah, we just came to that common ground. Plus, we developed a real kind of friendship, which made doing business really easy. So yeah, we just made it happen.

How did he find out about you?
Oh, I had dropped this video, “Into The Future,” and the A&R for Maybach Music saw that – I forgot what website he saw it on exactly – and he played it for Ross. Ross watched it and after he saw it, he was like, “Yo, I feel like this kid is next, and I want to fly him out and meet him.”

So he flew me out to L.A. where he was shooting the video for “Take It To The Head,” and we just linked and started hanging out then. And it’s been going ever since.

How hands-on does Ross get with you and the rest of the team?
Well, me and him have worked on a lot of music since I’ve been signed already, but he’s just really encouraging all of us to be ourselves. He’s hands-on as far as being the big bro for the situation and always giving the insight, but at the same time he trusts us and that’s why he signed us.

You mentioned you’ve been working with him; have you been working with any of the rest of the team?
Not yet, but I definitely feel like in the near future that’s going to happen.

Which MMG member are you most excited to get on a track with?
Man, that’s a tough question because everyone is equally as dope at bringing different stuff to the table. I feel like any track I could make with any of them guys would be super crazy, especially like Meek or even Omarion. Everyone’s style is just so different that any record with them would be crazy.

What’s changed for you since signing?
I mean, outside of the money, nothing, really. I’m still super hungry and I’ve got huge goals with rap. I really want to win several Grammys and things like that, so my work ethic has only intensified because I’m just one step closer to making that happen. Outside of that, I still stay in the same crib, hang out with the same people. I’m in Chicago walking right now as I’m talking to you.

It’s just a lot more people that know me. But my brand and the music that I make is about day-to-day life, living a regular life, and the struggles that come with that. I just want to keep myself in that element so I can stay relatable to the people that got me here. So, not too much has changed.

You’re still in Chicago, and the scene here is blowing up right now. Where do you position yourself within Chicago hip-hop?
I just feel like I make that real music, chill music that’s more reflective. I’ve been doing my style of work before a lot of these guys started popping and it’s just real dope to see different sides of the music come up. It shows that we represent everything that Chicago is about. Chicago has its hoods, Chicago has its nice parts. Chicago has those people in the streets and it has those people that made it out. I know people that were around that and didn’t get into it, so we’re all representing what Chicago is about right now. I just feel like I’ve got that south suburban, young, college student type of vibe. That’s what I represent: the young, hungry individuals.

Do you think there are any rappers in the city that haven’t blown up but should have?
I feel like everyone is really getting what they deserve right now. Slowly but surely. And that’s even with me and my own career; I may have felt that I should have been getting more recognition outside of Chicago sooner than I did. But God works in his own way, and I think we would all be ungrateful if we weren’t thankful for the progress we are making as a city. All the faces that are getting on right now are the ones that are supposed to be getting on right now, and the ones that are not, their time is going to come and keep making the city bigger and better.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Chicago?
That’s a good one. I’m gonna have to say… damn. I don’t eat out too much; I’m starting to now. I’m a Harold’s fan, really. It’s kinda ratchet, but…

Just asking ’cause I’m from Chicago. Always good to hear about other people’s spots.
That’s what’s up. We gotta get some Harold’s one day, man.

I’m down. If Google’s correct, you just turned 21?
Yes sir, just turned 21 this year.

Yeah, same.
Word? That’s crazy. You’re a player. That means you’re a player.

What’d you do for your 21st?
I can’t really remember, honestly. Can’t even remember. I got so… you know. I had a good time [Laughs].

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