Serge put the word out that Rockie Fresh would be around my way last night, so I made the move out to Hofstra University to see what the young dude was about. For those unfamiliar with the name, Rockie is a youngin’ outta Chicago who recently released his third mixtape, Driving 88 (features from Casey Veggies, Phil Ade & King Louie), which helped solidify him as  an artist that deserves attention from the masses. The mixtape is constructed with deep urban elements, but at times Rockie adds an alternative side which makes for a more untraditional sound compared to that of the common rapper. Nonetheless, the formula has proven to be successful as Fresh’s sound is both unique and cohesive, resulting in a refreshingly dope project. So if you haven’t had the opportunity to check it out yet, do so. Here’s some joints I personally wanted to highlight off the tape.

“Driving 88″ ft Casey Veggies – Stream

“Turn It Up”Stream

Within minutes of arriving at the venue, I was granted access to go chop it up backstage with Rockie (Shout out to Hofstra for the hospitality). Knowing iHipHop’s official interview with Fresh is on the way, I kept it chill with him and just tried to learn more about what he’s been dealing with in the last few weeks and what’s next to come. Currently, he’s been on a relentless grind, touring the U.S. in hopes of expanding the boundaries of his music. As of right now, you can find him on tour dates with Los Angeles rapper Casey Veggies, Boston hip hop group The Dean’s List as well as solo show appearances similar to the one he did last night.

Although he mentioned that at times the road life can become tiring and exhausting, he loves every bit of hitting the stage and putting on a great show for his fans. He jokingly said, even with the obstacles of touring, it had to be better than college. Let me assure you however, that this was not a diss by any means, but more of an affirmation that he truly has a passion for what it is he’s doing.

As we continued to speak, I asked about how else did he plan to spend his time in New York, but he mentioned his schedule didn’t allow for this to be an extended visit. After the show wrapped up, he was headed straight to South by Southwest. Rockie has 5 different shows lined up between Thursday & Friday, so if you’re in Austin, definitely catch one of his shows.

As for my assessment on Rockie upon talking to him, I have nothing but positive things to say about the dude. He has a real chill persona  and gave off a good vibe (wasn’t particularly standoffish as some artists can be). He’s seems real focused on what it is he’s doing and knows where he wants to take his career. Nothing about him seems superficial and it appears he chose being an artist for all the right reasons as opposed to desiring the money and fame.

In my opinion, I thought the show was dope. He performed 4-5 joints off Driving 88. The crowd was receptive to his music even though some were perhaps unfamiliar with his whole movement. His true fans did make their way to congratulate him on a great show after it concluded. Rockie was open to conversations afterward as he stuck around some to speak with those who came out to support him. All in all, a good show and a good night. (Note: I was brief on the details of the show as a means to encourage you to get out and see him to make your own judgment of Rockie). Until my next Front Row, Peace!

Ken Benjamin