Rapper Rockie Fresh performs with signature style at Trees
By Beionny Mickles
His hands grip the curvatures on the Xbox controller all too well.
As the 22-year-old casually gazes at the flat-screen television perched inside the black tour bus broadcasting his name and partnership with Puma sneakers, calmness permeates the performer’s persona, even in the midst of hundreds anxious to lend their ears.
Despite what some would call an expeditious arrival to the hip-hop scene, Chicago-bred artist Rockie Fresh, wielding a unique story and a microphone as a medium, is internally assured that the stage of Trees night club in Dallas is exactly where he is supposed to be.
And the up-and-coming star has no reason to believe otherwise.
Like a great majority of today’s youth, Fresh listened to sermons from parents and school teachers preaching that education is the only way to make a decent living.
Besides, with seemingly every major city containing countless kids with rap dreams, what were the chances that young Donald Pullen would be the crab to climb out of the hot pot?
“I was always taught that you had to get a college degree to be successful in life,” Fresh said just hours before taking the stage Friday night. “Overcoming having to follow somebody else’s system is something I’m proud to say I’ve been able to do at a young age.
“Going beyond what people expect and being able to go against my parents and still gain more respect than I’ve ever had from them – it’s been a good climb.”
Working alongside well-known multi-faceted artists helped Fresh rise through the ranks. Making music with the likes of Mac Miller, Fall Out Boy, Asher Roth and Good Charlotte, prevented him from flying under the radar for long.
At the age of 21, Fresh signed a deal with Rick Ross’ record label Maybach Music Group.
“It felt like I found a big piece of the puzzle of trying to get my life to where I want it to be,” Fresh said. “It was a real defining moment. With all the work I’ve been putting in it reassured me that this is what I need to be doing.”
Inspired by respected lyricists Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco and Lil’ Wayne,’ Fresh often reflects on the feelings he had while listening to rap as a child, strengthening his unwavering commitment to delivering content of substance.
“Kids really are in tune with rap music and it’s more than just them it’s people around the world,” Fresh said. “You have the power to affect the decisions that somebody makes when you really speak powerfully on what you believe in. That’s why I do it.
“I see so many kids in Chicago dying on a regular basis and even across the world. I want to allow my music and my lifestyle to be an example. I honestly feel like I have the power to save a few lives if it falls on the right ears.”
Opening up for California rapper G-Eazy in the “These Things Happen Tour,” Fresh has close to 40 shows in 50 days ahead of him as well as his debut album set to release later this year.
But even as the storm of cheers, chants and mystery inch closer as the time ticks away, Fresh is as calm as can be – not afraid to speak about his beliefs and ready to do better than expected.
“I’m a firm believer that we all have our different roads to success. Staying true to the signature moments in my life, that’s what really sets me a part,” Fresh said. “My climb, my story – no matter what type of beat I rap on it’s always coming from a signature perspective of Rockie.”