tyler curtis/ darkroomdemons.com
Chicago rapper Rockie Fresh performs at a mixtape release party in 2011.
He's taking his rapping talents to South Beach.
Rockie Fresh, a 21-year-old Homewood-Flossmoor native, signed a deal with Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group early Thursday morning, a division of Warner Brothers Music.
Fresh has been building underground buzz over the past couple of years based on the strength of his mixtapes.
He's toured with the likes of Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy and opened for rappers such as Ross, Big Sean and Twista.
Industry publications have touted him as the next big thing, with URB Magazine calling him the "Derrick Rose of rap Chi-Town has been waiting for."
The details of the agreement weren't released, but Andrew Barber, founder of Chicago hip-hop blog Fake Shore Drive, says Ross' label is arguably the hottest in hip hop at the moment and "likely didn't cut any corners to sign the young rapper."
"Anytime Rick Ross is involved, you can expect something big," Barber told NBCChicago.com. "Not to mention both Diddy and Birdman (Cash Money) were also in a bidding war to sign Rockie, so Ross had to outbid both of them -- and they have deep pockets."
The deal comes weeks after 16-year-old Chicago rap phenom Chief Keef signed with Interscope records, a deal that came loaded with incentives like his own label, options for movies and his own line of Beats by Dre headphones.
"I'd say Chicago is hands down the hottest city in hip-hop right now," says Barber. "Since January 1, 2012, no less than eight artists have signed major label deals -- unheard of from one city at one time. And I truly believe this is only the tip of the iceberg. I just hope we can show and prove."
Rockie Fresh has also announced his first headlining national tour this fall. The Electric Highway tour will hit Chicago's Metro on October 20.