Rockie Fresh has made real strides in his relatively short hip-hop career. Officially entering the game three years ago, Rockie already has a solid track record performing alongside notable acts like The Cool Kids, Rhymefest and Kidz in the Hall, culminating in a well-received set at this year’s SXSW. With his mixtape “Rockie’s Modern Life” downloaded more than 3,000 times within the first month of its release, and single “Fly Like This,” voted number one on WGCI 107.5’s GoiLL Radio show for several weeks, Rockie has emerged as one of the city’s more promising new artists, though he remains unsigned and relatively unknown outside of the Chicago area. But, as he proclaims on the track “Yo,” it’s time for people to see he’s the one. Influenced by acts ranging from The Beatles to Jay-Z, Rockie’s versatility has hip-hoppers comparing him to the likes of Kid Cudi, Wiz Khalifa and Drake—members of a growing generation of young emcees fed up with the staleness of mainstream rap. Able to smoothly transition between tricky, tongue-twisting cadences and a laid-backness that makes backpackers smile, Rockie has the potential to transcend the “underground” label with tracks like “Rockie Go Get Um” proving that he can accommodate club rats and create catchy party anthems with the best of them. (Darrel Sangster)
May 5 at Subterranean, 2011 W. North, (773)278-6799, 9:30pm, $7; May 8 at Subterranean, 10:30pm, $7-$10.