Rockie Fresh-Electric Highway Mixtape Review
The first thing to know about Maybach Music is that it’s not a crew but a sound; a clean club friendly sound. The next thing to understand is that not everyone adapts to it naturally.Rick Ross himself gets tugged in different directions between the gutter bounce of Rich Forever and the polish of God Forgives, I Don’t. It’s maneuvering these factors that make the new Rockie Fresh mixtape Electric Highway a success.
It’s his first release on Maybach and the credits list Rick Ross and Rockie as executive producers. Each listening brings a mental picture of the two hammering out a new sound, futuristic feeling but not confusingly experimental…searching for a sonic environment both simplistic and weird. The answer comes from The Gift who produces 7 of the 17 tracks and most of the real stand outs (Lights Glow, Ride Slow, Thick B, The Warning). Finger snaps and chanting are enough to differentiate a song like Superman OG from what you would expect from the Rockie Fresh whose Driving 88 mixtape was significantly more straightforward.
Nothing about Electric Highway is underground, this is a pop album put out for free but don’t for a second think you get to listen to this and say Rockie has changed. You might see a song title like Barrell of a Gun and be disappointed but just listen “A lot of these rappers be out here wildin’ out here talking all violent I prefer to move silent.” He uses the gun image to talk about money and dedication but never violence. The Warning repeats a mantra about the importance of life “…roll that sh#t light that sh#t live your life don’t miss this sh#t…” its a far cry from Biggie’s Warning. I was Scratching my head at a song called Thick B#tch(Hit My Jack) but it turned out to be one of the most heartfelt songs on the project culminating in the reversal of a classic hip hop move. A woman leaves a voicemail for Rockie but instead of being mad about him banging her sister or exclaiming how satisfied she is sexually she compliments his work ethic and promises to wait for him. This adds nicely to a song about being young and enjoying your life with a woman whom he never says anything needless or disrespectful.
Part of the reason Rockie’s star has climbed is because he doesn’t drop knowledge on people. He doesn’t break out of verses with lines that will make you rewind, he doesn’t teach you about the symbols on your dollar bill. He just chugs along the track like the Energizer bunny sounding earnest whether he’s asking god to forgive others (Father Forgive Em) or comparing himself to pro-wrestler Kevin Nash(Something Special).
He brings Sasha Go Hard from Chicago to be the female half of Show Me Sumthin, giving the song a balance most versions of it wouldn’t have. He shows intelligence in his decision making thoughout Electric Highway never getting taken over by MMG, instead merging his sound with it. If beautiful samples like the one on Nobody and rollicking bass with careful use of autotune like Lights Glow is the direction MMG is taking him it will be a great thing for Rockie Fresh and his audience. Electric Highway is a tape you can enjoy and grow with; liking it more and more the more time you give it.
Stream or Download Electric Highway below: