Upcoming Chicago rapper Rockie Fresh has ben making a major impact on the independent hip-hip scene. Just recently off the South by Southwest concert and the Leaders of the New School tour, Rockie gives WHO?MAG a dope interview talking about the success of his mixtape, the Chicago scene, and his touring situation.
By Rob Schwartz
WHO?MAG: Who is Rockie Fresh?
Rockie Fresh: Rockie Fresh is a 20-year-old rapper out of Chicago who has a real diverse sound. I got a mixtape out now called “The Otherside” which you can buy at www.rockiefresh.com.
WHO?MAG: How did you get on “Leaders of the New Cool” tour?
Rockie Fresh: I got on that tour because I went to South by Southwest last year. I had 5 songs there I performed in a URB showcase. Someone saw it and was a fan of it and asked if I can go on the Leaders of the New Cool tour.
WHO?MAG: What was your secret in getting 15,000 downloads of your last mixtape “The Otherside” in its first week?
Rockie Fresh: It was really not being satisfied with my situation and I’m still not happy with my situation. I am happy that my project got that many downloads in the first week, but at the same time, it’s always about getting better. My first mixtape only did 5,000 downloads throughout the course it was out before I released “The Otherside”. That was cool, but at the same time, that wasn’t enough. I wanted to recreate myself and improve on my lyrics and stuff like that and get some more people involved that can make sure that I release my music on more of a national level. With that, everything started working out better for “The Otherside”.
WHO?MAG: Tell me about the song and video for “Fly Like This”.
Rockie Fresh: “Fly Like This” was the first single I had released off of my first mixtape. With that, I have linked up with two other Chicago artists who had big buzzes YP and Big Homie Doe. They have been holding it down in Chicago for a long time. The song shows Chicago unification because I live in the suburbs and they represent the east side of Chicago. We decided to mix that up and trade each other’s fan bases. That’s how the record came about. We also all had a friend who does a bulk of the local music videos named David Greenburg. He liked the song a lot and offered to do the video for free for us. That’s how the video came about.
WHO?MAG: How do you feel about the Chicago hip-hop scene right now?
Rockie Fresh: I feel really good about the Chicago hip-hop scene right now. There are a lot of artists who are starting to get recognized nationally like YP, L.E.P. Bogus Boys, and I feel like things are starting to move in the right direction. It’s starting to come back to the lyrics and everyone is embracing their roots. We’re all now becoming unified and everyone has records with each other. I feel as if one person grows, then we all grow together. That’s a pretty good position to be in.
WHO?MAG: What do you think was one of the toughest obstacles you came across so far in this hip-hop game?
Rockie Fresh: Probably being able to perform in front of big crowds. I’m a real chill dude and I totally forgot that when I’m on stage I’m going to have to wild out on stage and places like that. When I first started performing, I was real shy on stage mainly because that’s not what I did in my regular life, like getting people hyped. As I started doing a lot more songs, I definitely embraced it. That was probably my biggest hurdle was getting to be able to perform to a crowd.
WHO?MAG: How did you get on the South by Southwest Tour?
Rockie Fresh: I got on South by Southwest because when I released my first mixtape, my manager was interning at a bunch of little Indy labels and they had showcases and they respected the music that I did and they put me on their showcases along with a few other hip-hop showcases just off of the small buzz that I had. That’s how it started. I went back to South by Southwest this year and that was a lot more official as far as the shows that I had due to the success I already had.
WHO?MAG: Being that you’re young in this hip-hop game, if you could take hip-hop and put it on your back and run with it for the next 20 years, where would you take it?
Rockie Fresh: I would definitely take it, I don’t want to say to the lyrics, but I will take it to an area that is more lyrically focused and where substance is the key to having successful music. I don’t feel that everyone needs to be a deep metaphor rapper in order to be a lyricist, but at the same time, the meaning of the record and what we are trying to get across, I feel like I would like to take it back to a place where I feel that that’s important verses a time now where you can be as random as possible and say whatever you want to and that’s what gets you the most attention.
WHO?MAG: What’s next for Rockie Fresh?
Rockie Fresh: I’m working on a lot of promo records with a lot of up and coming artists. Those should be out in weeks to come. I’m releasing a remix mixtape for “The Otherside Redux” with a lot of remixes with bigger artists that have been doing their thing. Also, I’m working on another mixtape. I don’t have an exact time yet, but probably late summer. I will also be dropping videos over the course of the summer from records off of The Otherside.