Maybach Music Group’s silent hustler Rockie Fresh has kept quiet in the spotlight for the past 365 but the 24-year-old rapper has been hard at work on his debut album via Atlantic Records and MMG.
Fresh returns with the free project, The Night I Went To…, a prequel to his 2016 studio effort that is set to include collaborations with Ed Sheeran, Chris Brown and MMG boss, Rick Ross. No stranger to surprising releases, the MMG signee has already logged studio time with Good Charlotte, Fall Out Boy and Inglewood rapper, Casey Veggies.
On his comeback release, the Chicago native says he’ll be waxing poetic about struggling as a new artist and documenting the process through songs that reflect a series of nights in his life. Here, Billboard premieres the exclusive trailer and catches up with Fresh before his flight to South Africa for a secret show to discuss his upcoming project and working with recent Billboard cover star, Sheeran.
You’ve kept a low profile in the past year or so. What hasn’t Twitter or Instagram told fans about your mini-hiatus?
My team and I have a “no cell phone” policy when music is being made so there aren’t a lot of videos or pictures that reach the public of me being in the studio. I’m also a very low-key person. My goal is not “be famous on social media” but moreso, to just make quality music. During the past two years, I never took a break from recording. I only wanted to focus on becoming a better artist and also becoming a better family man. The time was also taken by choice. It’s a fun process and I can personally feel the growth. My debut album is also really close to being finished and this new project is to show fans what I’ve been up to. I’ve been spending a lot of time on the new music to make the album something special.
Driving 88 and The Birthday Tape were both solid efforts. How will this new project differ from an artistic standpoint?
Before, I was making every project so fast and with somewhat of a different view on life, and I’ve learned some major life lessons since my last release. I have been able to put a more mature mindset into this project as well as on my upcoming debut album.
Will the entire project be centered around a recent trip or a series of adventures you took this past year?
The [project] is inspired by recent personal adventures that I’ve taken, not just traveling physically but also mentally. I took my mind to the past many nights, from reflecting on my past as a failing student trying to get into the music business to my past relationships to also having to rearrange my circle and remove all of the negative energy in my life. The journey has really taught me about things that I want to obtain in the future.
In the past you’ve toured with the likes of Fall Out Boy and Good Charlotte. Can we expect genre-hopping collaborations on your next project?
You can always expect genre hopping on my projects. I love working with artists in different genres and also experimenting with different types of music even when I’m creating a song on my own. On the project, I have a song with a good friend of mine, Ed Sheeran. Ed inspires me a lot and his work ethic is unmatched. Working with him in the studio was just such a great experience and was very easy. We’re both the same age and I relate to him in so many ways. The music we made is very natural.