Chicago has bred plenty of legendary hip-hop artists, but the city's youngest crop of rappers are ready to usher in a new era for the Midwest. Among those leading the pack is Rockie Fresh, who will follow up his January mixtape Driving 88 with a new project titled Electric Highway this fall.
The 21-year-old Southside native has released several notable mixtapes over the past few years, including 2011's The Otherside Redux and this year's Driving 88, which found him collaborating with Casey Veggies and fellow Chi-town rapper King Louie. But Rockie's confident that current recording sessions will result in his best work yet.
"It's called Electric Highway," Rockie told MTV News exclusively, revealing the title. "I always want to do original music even if it's a mixtape, so it's definitely a free album, but all of the records are going to be original. With me getting older and seeing different parts of the world, my content is always going to be evolving, so this is going to be the peak of Rockie Fresh. Out of all of the stuff that I've done, I think this is going to be my best work and I'm really looking forward to dropping it."
Rockie's fans will certainly be looking forward to the project, as will a few industry heavyweights who also have their eye on the young rapper. During a visit to New York City's Hot 97 radio station this week, Maybach Music Group CEO Rick Ross sent a "shout out to the lil' homie Rockie Fresh," adding, "I'm a fan of his music." And even though Rozay confirmed that Rockie hasn't been signed to MMG "as of now," they certainly have a good relationship going.
"That was crazy," Rockie told MTV News just hours after the shout-out from Ross. "Me and him, we've been talking a lot back and forth. That's definitely one of my big homies."
While Rockie continues to explore his label options, you'd better believe that he'll stay buried in his work. While on tour over the past few months, he gave fans the chance to keep up with his everyday grind through the vlog series "Life on the Otherside."
"[It's] to let people know that sh-- is real," he said matter-of-factly. "A lot of people utilize the Internet to stunt and it kind of gets old after a while. I really want people to see my climb, to really respect the work ethic that goes into it, and even for them just to be motivated by it. [It's] to let other young artists know that the struggle is something everybody has to go through. It's not a smooth road, so I just feel like it's dope to really show people the real picture."