Entertainment Entertainment Music

Mixtape review: Rockie Fresh "Electric Highway"

** 1/2 (out of four)

Rockie Fresh likes cars. He likes buying cars ("In 2013/I plan to buy too many cars"). He likes talking about cars. He likes driving cars, and he likes driving metaphors: both of his higher-profile mixtape releases were named as such: last year’s popular “Driving 88” and now, “Electric Highway,” his first release after being signed to Rick Ross’s Maybach Music Group, a rap label named after the luxury Maybach automobile.
 
Imagining “Electric Highway” as a reflection of Rockie’s style actually works pretty well. Coasting on an effortless flow over some lush production, he sounds comfortable, on cruise control in the best way possible. Imagine Kanye’s “808s and Heartbreak” or Drake’s “Take Care” without the angst and general darkness, replace it with swagger and a warmer undercurrent of piano keys and bleep-bloops—that’s “Highway.” Rockie barely raps on songs like “The Lights” or “Lights Glow,” opting for a Cudi-esque croon, drenched in reverb and auto-tune.
 
When he does rap, Rockie’s rhymes often blend into the beat, his cadence vacillating between a Rick Ross heave-ho and 2 Chainz’ nimble drawl as he spits about usual fodder of women, clothes and, duh, cars. He’s so smooth that he’s best when complemented by another emcee, like the tenser Sasha Go Hard on the slinky, The xx-sampling “Show Me Something” or Curren$y’s more textured stoner flow on “Roll Up Right Now.” Sometimes though, he comes off like a schlocky Wiz Khalifa, like on the lethargic “Hold Me Down.”
 
He doesn’t drop a lot of explicit Chicago put-ons; not that that matters, but it’s a measure of where he’s come in the last year: from finding his niche as a smooth talker in a sea of bangers to finding his own lane in the world of major labels. The chilled-out neon aesthetic is derivative, sure, but its honed and fun, pulling off his low-key flexes with confidence.

 

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Taste of Chicago 2015 lineup includes 19 new food vendors

    Taste of Chicago 2015 lineup includes 19 new food vendors

    The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events announced its lineup of participating restaurants for this year's Taste of Chicago event, scheduled for July 8-12 in Grant Park. Of the 60 food vendors total, 19 are new this year.

  • What will be 2015's 'Song of the Summer'?

    What will be 2015's 'Song of the Summer'?

    Ever year, fans, music writers and industry suits talk endlessly about a “Song of the Summer,” a fun and beach-ready pop anthem to soundtrack the season. Figuring out whether there is a definitive “Song of the Summer” or whether it's just a craven but brilliant marketing idea isn’t the point of...

  • Police: Man last seen on South Water Street located

    Police: Man last seen on South Water Street located

    Chicago police said Wednesday they have reunited a man missing on Monday in the Loop with his family.

  • Realignment of perilous Damen-Elston-Fullerton intersection to start Thursday

    Realignment of perilous Damen-Elston-Fullerton intersection to start Thursday

    Work is set to begin Thursday on a project that Chicago officials have debated for two decades: how to realign the congested, confusing and high-accident six-corner intersection where Damen, Elston and Fullerton avenues meet, officials announced Tuesday.

  • Courtesy goes a long way, new CTA campaign advises riders

    Courtesy goes a long way, new CTA campaign advises riders

    Sloppy eaters on CTA trains and buses, loudmouths, litterbugs, seat hogs, door blockers and assorted other misfits have for at least several years been lambasted by other riders venting their outrage on social media, but now the transit agency is joining the conversation in hopes of encouraging...

  • Fest planner: May 29-31

    Fest planner: May 29-31

    Progressive festing (kind of like progressive dining) is highly encouraged this weekend for a healthy dose of art and culture. Start the weekend early on Thursday with German street fest Maifest in Ravenswood (save room for bienenstich cake). Make your way over to the far north for a Pivot Art...

Comments
Loading