APG Music Group
Whether or not his name directly influenced the title “Driving 88″, Rockie Fresh’s latest project breaks down barriers between two well-loved musical styles. The young 20-year-old Chicago native delivers nothing but a fresh take on Rap with a Rock-led vibe. It may be that as his third project he’s more confident in his sound, which is more firmly presented. Nevertheless, Driving 88 is one of the more original-sounding projects I’ve come across thus far in 2012.
Rockie, who chose “88” in reference to the interstate highway running through Chicago, fuses together the liberating guitar sways with heavily felt Hip Hop 808s. He even chose to sample Coldplay’s “Square One” on the track “Doesn’t Matter”. Even though I’ve noticed the highway metaphor before, I haven’t heard it like this. It’s clear thatDriving 88 is an expression of the long road he’s walked since the release of his first debut project Rockies Modern Life in December 2009. Driving 88 is a continuation of his musical process. He still speaks about similar trials & tribulations, such as not “falling into the goofy things your peers do,” but his overall sound on Driving 88 is more radiant, polished, and outspoken.
All my chosen tracks on here are those with a moral message. Again, these sentiments aren’t explicit but if you look at the song as a whole and refrain from dissecting each line, everything is clearer. In “Come Around” there’s honesty above those electrifying key chords and a super deep bass. Sidenote: this song was definitely made for carspeakers, probably while driving along I-88 lol… In “Don’t Worry” ft. Rebecca Jordan the thoughtfully smooth instrumentals reassure feelings of faith and gratitude from the silliness of modern, first-world worries in which he notes. Lastly, “Never Never” voices Rockie’s steadfast confidence in his pursuits and abilities, a key component to success. Yet, I particularly like “So Long”, where patience and determination are rooted in the softer, nostalgic sounds that Rock music can offer. He speaks to the rejection slips and low-points we all experience in our career and especially in the unpredictable walk of Life.
Aside from the inspiration Rockie Fresh gives, it’s important to note that the production value fits perfectly with his delivery and mood of each song. But it’s his language that seems to reach us with positive approval. He’s not at all misunderstood as he preaches the important things. He is simple and omnipresent. In conjunction with his freeing sounds and vocal style, this is a perfect fit for the ears.
The impersonal mannerisms of his lyrical delivery make for this musical connect. Rockie Fresh gives bits and pieces of his own story on Driving 88 and turns it into universal messages we can relate to. Oftentimes, emcees spit the nitty-gritty details of a particular story and although this can be well done, it’s harder for the average listener to understand. Besides, music is often about the non-physical human connection with as many people as possible, right?
Take a drive with Rockie down 88 at http://www.rockiefresh.com/
Review by: Stephanie Nicole Jones - journalist