Maybach, the über-luxury car brand, is on a death march, set to shut its doors in 2013. But Maybach Music Group, the burgeoning record label Rick Ross named after his favorite whip, is headed in the opposite direction. The imprint expanded its bulging portfolio even further last July when it signed Rockie Fresh, the buzz-worthy rookie rapper from Chicago. Despite weeks of rumors and Twitter hints from Rockie and Rozay, the move was still a surprise: Rockie's leftfield, melodic, rock-influenced swag-rap is a far cry from the luxe crime-boss fantasies and trap sound that fuel Ross and most of the other artists on MMG. But in an exclusive sit-down with BET.com, Rockie Fresh explained why he's rolling shotgun in the Bawse's Maybach.
After the deal was announced, Rockie — who became one of rap's most in-demand free agents with his Driving 88 mixtape earlier this year — tweeted, "Salute to @rickyrozay for seeing my vision." But Rockie's reasons for inking with Rozay go way deeper than that. Above all, Rockie says, the two are good friends, and he's remained closest to Rick even as he's gotten to know his fellow MMG soldiers. "It's so unorthodox — people wouldn't expect me and Ross to be as cool as we are, but dude really gets it and I get what he's doing too," Rockie told BET.com. "It's just one of those random situations. I have a lot of random friends in my life that I've met organically and Ross is one of those people. I feel like even if I didn't sign to him, me and him would've still had a good relationship. That's my big bro."
And like any older brother, Ross has already had a big influence on him. Rockie says Ross has inspired him to be more audacious and assertive with his music, his image and his brand. I've learned...to just have confidence," Rockie says. "He operates like a boss, whether it’s when he’s in the studio or out at a show. It’s the same personality. It doesn’t mean that you have to be a tacky individual or you have to be rude to people, but you’ve got to have that self-confidence. Ross is a real personable dude, he’s a real likeable dude, but at the same time he acts like a boss. With my brand I want to be that type of way for my generation — so I just have to record with a little more confidence."
Rockie says his growing confidence is paying off in the studio, where he's been recording his new mixtape, Electric Highway, due this fall, and onstage — after holding his own during several dates on Ross' God Forgives, I Don't promo tour, Rockie embarked on his first nationwide solo tour last week. Rather than trying to shoehorn himself into the MMG brand, Rockie says he's continued to pave his own lane, with Ross' full support.
"I'm the youngest one on the team and I’m the only member from Chicago, so my story and the things that I’ve been through is totally different from everybody else on the team," Rockie says. "The big homie Rozay, he respects that and really wants me to just focus on speaking to my generation and to my audience. It makes it real, real smooth for me. I don’t want to say easy because everything takes hard work — but I’m confident that the hard work is going to pay off."
Like a boss.
BET.com is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.
Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
(Photo By Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)