VIBE.com alumni Rockie Fresh is destined for another plateau of rap greatness. In the midst of finishing up his upcoming mixtape, Electric Circus, Rockie signed his first major record deal with Rick Ross' Maybach Music group. The news shook up the blogosphere and gained Fresh a gang of new fans and believers. Days after he gave his John Handcock to MMG's paperwork, VIBE scooped him up again for an in-depth interview on his road to MMG.
VIBE: Congrats family!
Rocke Fresh: I appreciate y'all for supporting me, even before this went down; when I was out posting records and building my fan base. To see everybody believe, now I have something to be proud of. It's a real good time for me.
No doubt. Do you almost feel validated now for believing in your musical abilities even when no one else did?
Yeah, it feels like a little bit of weight has been lifted off my shoulders, but at the same time, it's one of those things where I was working out all of these record deals, basically since February, I've been taking meetings, and it was just one of those things in which I finally found a place where I was real comfortable with and that I knew I could flourish in, and for that there was a relief, and more of a relief than anything and that's what made it so special.
I know you said before you had major labels courting you. You had RCA, Columbia, Universal, even Puff and Bad Boy, were you close to going with any one of them prior to the whole MMG thing?
Yeah, definitely. I mean, all of them were good people. I had some really solid A&Rs that were courting me and showing me a lot of love, and Puff; he's a great dude, like I definitely see why he's still so respected in the industry. I was definitely close to making a couple of other moves, but this situation really felt like the best one for me. That's why I went with it.
From what we see on Twitter from Ross, he really seems to believe in your whole movement, and not just “Rockie Fresh, the new MMG rapper.”
Definitely. I mean, he really saw my vision. Just me being where I'm from, in Chicago, we're just now starting to get our brand back with a lot of things, you know with Lupe, and a lot of dudes coming up, labels are taking notice earlier. You know Chief Keef, he's young; he's like 17, 18; I'm 21; and so we're at a really young age, and people are just seeing it. Ross really believes I'm going to be a big player in this rap game for a long. I feel the same way. We connected on that.
Do you remember the first thing Ross said to you. What was that moment was like when you met him for the first time?
The first question he asked me was, ‘What's your story? What's your motivation?’ And then I kind of broke it down to him, and he took this pause, he paused...there was my story, and after he was like, ‘It's the same way for me man! You know what I'm saying...’ And I was like, ‘Aww, that's what's up!’ You know, me and Ross we just related and it was a real smooth conversation. We talked about the industry; we were talking about the success of Meek and Wale...it was just dope. It was a real organic thing. I got to go to a couple of video shoots with him, and just really grew respect for him as a person more than anything. We just built from there.
In my opinion Ross doesn't try to stop what you're doing, but more or less lets you run with your own thing but also adds the Maybach flavor to to your music.
That's exactly what it is. Like Ross really respects my sound and respects Driving 88. He liked a lot of records that were out there and told me what he liked about those certain records, and it was giving me a platform for people to appreciate what I do on a higher level, and now I’m combining that with theMaybach sound. Right now, me, Wale, Ross, Stalley, and even Omarion, everybody's turning up and we're becoming that next label in the industry, and I wanted to be a part of something like that. And especially because knowing they appreciate what I do and aren't looking to change it.
Did Ross actually tell you what his favorite joint was from 88?
Oh yeah, definitely. He said his favorite was "Twenties.” He's a huge fan of that joint, and it surprised me because that's one of my favorite records off the tape, too. It really sums things up for me, so for him to appreciate the hunger from that record was dope for me.
I was going to say that song kind of goes with Ross' whole theme. I feel he's really out for longevity. It's about being “rich forever,” not just ‘let's just get it real quick.’
Exactly. And I guess that's just one of those things that we related on, and we really want this to be a long term thing. Like, I'm not looking to jump in and out of situations. I really want to make history here the same way Drake did with Young Money; the same way B.o.B. did with Grand Hustle; Kanye with Roc-A-Fella and so forth. I want that type of run, and we both feel like that was about to happen.