Interview by Louie Lopez (@ThatzCrack)
On Friday, we dropped part 1 of our interview with Rockie Fresh as he talked about a few ways MMG has helped out his work ethic, what he’s learned on tour, and being surrounded by hard working label mates. Today this part 2 of the interview, Rockie talks his creative process, what kind of artist he is, and how he handled his projects from his first one to now.
Since linking up with Ross for the first time, out of all the advice he’s gave you what’s’ something that’s hit home for you?
I think it was the fact that when we first met, even before I signed to him he respected the fact that I had a sound. With the Driving 88 project I really thought I was on to something but you just never really know until you get that recognition from somebody that you respect, but when you get that input from somebody that you really respect and I was fortunate enough to get input from two people I respect which was Ross and Diddy but when Ross, who was a person who makes totally different music then what I do but at the same time he influenced my career even before I started making my own music me and my homies used to ride around and bump his content and if you listen to some of my older records you’ll hear early Ross samples. For him to listen to Driving 88 and be like “man I respect you because you have your own sound and I never heard anything like this before” that was something that really stuck with me even if I would moved on and not signed with MMG just by him telling me that inspired me to keep making my music. His wisdom and knowledge of the game and how much he cares about his artist, that’s the reason why I made the move.
What are you most proud of on this new project?
I’m most proud of this project because one it’s my first label release and it’s something that I’m really grateful that I get to live to see with me only being 21 years old. The fact that I have that along with this tape is something that I really appreciate. Two, a lot of the tracks I’ve been dropping have been getting great a great response. I really feel like I made a next level project and I’m giving the people something different. As far as lyrically the content is really motivational. I feel like people that are trying to achieve a goal they can hear lyrics in any record and there are 17 songs on the tape. I also feel like me being able to hear it back and it being on the surface not being something that the people will have a hard time looking for. That’s what I’m most proud about this project.
What was your creative process through Electric Highway that makes it stand out from your last three tapes?
I took a different approach when I was creating this tape and the reason why is because I didn’t want this tape to be about “ah man this guy Rockie is just this incredible lyricist” and that just be the only thing. I want to motivate people but also bring out different emotions. The way I went about that is by being as real as I possibly can on these records. Talking about my direct perspective and talking about what I’m really seeing and thinking. What I did differently with this project is I really started writing. The beats that are on this project are on their because the moment I heard them I started writing. It’s more raw emotion.
It’s all more natural now correct?
What sort of statement do you want to make with Electric Highway?
As far as a statement, you know I’m still a competitive artist. I do rap like sports. There’s people that get in the game to get they little money but there’s also people that want to get in and take over like Jordan and Kobe. That’s the mindset I’m coming with. I’m coming for that Grammy. I want to be number 1 in sales when I drop my first album. The type of content and the beats I choose is the seed of what is going to start growing into some of those dreams that I had. Now I gotta go hard but the key thing is for people to be inspired it’s bigger than other artist wanting to rap. I want a college student to pop in my mixtape and study hard. I want somebody that wants to be an athlete to put in my music and want to go into the gym you feel me? I want a girl who hears my project to know that there’s a cool dudes out there that isn’t trying to be on the typical stuff. That’s the mindset of the tape.
How did features and the production come about?
I really went right on the features, I got this artist out of Chicago her name is Sasha Go Hard she’s featured on the tape as well as Curren$y and Nipsey Hussle. Other than that, it’s just Ross on their. I just want to tell my own story. As far as production I kept it in the family. My producer, The Gift, jumped into each record. I also worked with Jerm and my homie Lunice who is part of the group TNGHT, they’re making a crazy buzz right now. Boywonder, Quincy Tones he took care of the intro, but other than that I just kept it within the family. Salute to my producer Gift cause we put in a lot of work on this tape.
What’s different about you and how you handle your music compared to your last tapes?
I think the thing that’s really different is the maturity. I’m 21 now and when I started dropping tapes I was 18, I was living in my mom’s crib now I have my own crib you know I’m able to travel and go on tour. Also, being around the MMG team and being able to meet some of my role models and seeing certain things. Shit can get really when you’re really grinding. As far as the content before it was about impressing people now it’s about bringing change. Being from Chicago I see and hear a lot of wild stuff on a daily basis, I feel like my generation needs change so I want to bring that through my music.
Speaking on Chicago, it being a city where conscious rap was the form to come up to now it being all about the young kids and violence where do you see yourself in the Chicago rap scene?
I think I have my own lane and the reason why is because I really started making strides before the street music really popping like that. My first performance was in one of the biggest venues in Chicago for independent artist. I was the first Chicago rapper to spit there after The Cool Kids and before that Mac Miller sold out the venue. That was my motivation to keep moving forward. It wasn’t too many young people making music besides The Cool Kids out of Chicago when I first started. With that I’m inspired by different things. Kanye and Lupe; I respected their grind and success before the music that’s always the my mindset take successful people and use them as examples but at the same time have my thoughts and own twists to the music.
What kind of artist do you consider yourself?
I consider myself just as a legit artist. I don’t want to put myself in a box. Even with Electric Highway there are records where I’m completely singing but they are not giving you an R&B vibe or your typical auto tune track. It’s just different sounds. One thing I really appreciated was Andre 3000 “Love Below” project, you can never put that album in a box it’s just quality music. It’s all about giving the people quality music.
Who inspired you to take the lane that you choose?
As far as who inspired me I really got to give credit to Jay-Z, Kanye, Lupe and all those guys because they were telling their stories in their music and people responded because they actually related to it.
5 years from now where do you see yourself? Not only as an artist but as a brand in general?
As an artist and even a brand I definitely plan on having my first album out by then, to be a platinum effort and also to be Grammy nominated by then that’s something that I plan on. I also want to write a movie that’s going to be a resource for my generation. My next step will be working on my first film written and directed by me and two of my best friends. We always dreamed about doing that before I started rapping. The motivation for that was seeing the Roc-a-fella movies and seeing guys like Luda and T.I telling their story through a big screen, same thing with Pac and Eminem. They showed me how possible it was and as a young person I’m only 21 I really want to make that contribution to society while ideas are still fresh in my min.
Make sure you check out the project at RockieFresh.com