Chicago MC Rockie Fresh says there’s plenty of camaraderie in his city between up-and-comers like King L, Chief Keef and L.E.P., all of which are gaining heavy buzz and accolades, respectively.

“Its crazy,” Rockie tells XXL. “We’re all young dudes so its kinda cool to be apart of the new movement. To see all the people supporting, it's cool to be a part of the city.”

Fresh garnered acclaim for his Driving 88 mixtape, which dropped in January. He says a follow-up is nearing in the next several weeks.

“It’s a real dope project,” he says of the as-yet-titled work. “I wanted to take it to another level. With me being young, I wanted to take my fans with me and mature with my topics and my sounds. I’m going to have some info on it soon.

“My music is about my day to day life,” he added. “For me going on my first tour this year, leaving my city, being able to travel and see certain things…As well as some of the stories from my friends, trying to stay true to them as well as the new [friends] I’m starting to gain.”

So far, Rockie has his good friend Cassie Veggies signed up for the new mixtape and expects to collaborate with more tenured MCs as well. Also this Fall, Rockie will launch his first ever headlining tour, which he refers to as “a dream come true” and “a blessing.”

“Tough part is being patient and realizing you can’t force yourself on the people,” he analyzed about being a young independent artist. “You gotta find your lane and really start building from the bottom up. That’s the toughest part. Once you start seeing the real progression, it becomes a fun thing.”

One person who Rockie has developed a friendship with is Rick Ross. Fresh says Rozay flew him out to the DJ Khaled “Take It To The Head” video shoot in Los Angeles a few months back.

“Ross is the big homie, he’s a super cool dude,” Fresh says. “He’s been showing respect for my situation and that’s about it. Right now it's all love. It was amazing for me, especially the point I’m at, because I’m gaining fans but at the same time I don’t have the biggest fan base in the world. For somebody of that caliber to show respect for my sound and my music and tell me certain songs off the mixtapes he liked, it definitely inspired me. He was up on the Driving 88 tape. I put out a video for the intro ‘Into The Future’ and it caught their attention.”—Shaheem Reid