TURNING HEADS Big Rush waits for his ride.
The business model adopted by Pawtucket-via-Albany rapper Big Rush is simple: paying bills-via-rhyme skills.
“The goal is to make money with my craft in some shape or form,” he told me earlier this week, “whether it’s writing commercials, music, or jingles.”
An “independent/underground” rapper whose objective is making music a full-time, profitable career? Jingles? That’s blasphemous talk right there. But before you banish Big Rush to the Land of Sellouts, check out tracks from his official debut, It’s Just Business ($7.99 on iTunes), released earlier this year, along with his mixtape debut Over the Top. Big Rush has played just about every open mic and corner tap-hosted showcase around here, and early on he aligned himself with local hip-hop artists such as Renaissance, the Wundah Ground team, and Lingo (who just released his debut platter I Know). His hustling work ethic has already paid dividends, having opened for rap icons DJ Premier, Rakim, GZA, M.O.P., and Jedi Mind Tricks among others. He was invited to play two Sound Session sets this year, and will make his next Provy appearance opening for Brooklyn rapper Curtains his weekend at Jerky’s, followed by stops in Pawtucket and Newport.
Sean Rosch left his hometown of Albany (or “West Allah,” as Big Rush refers to it) for Bryant University and received his marketing degree in 2007. When he was laid off from his boat manufacturing job in Cranston last year, Rosch decided to reignite his passion for rhyme-writing and use that marketing degree to market himself. Shortly after graduation, he set up shop in Pawtucket and continued honing his skills.
“I think it’s difficult to gain attention for anyone who isn’t nice at their craft,” Rosch said, dismissing my claim that leaving New York for Rhode Island ain’t exactly the prototypical rap model for success.
“I, however, am pretty decent with my craft and always seem to turn a few heads when I’m on the mic.”
You can’t knock the hustle nor that causal confidence on It’s Just Business. Things get off to a bumpy start early on, with Big Rush rapid-firing over uptempo dance floor beats, but settles in nicely later on with excellent latter-half cuts like “Lost In Time” and “My Darling Rhode Island,” while the Masta Ace influence shines brightly on “One Breath At a Time” with a blue-collar line like “my bars make enough for my outfit/and I’ll out-spit any fuck that you down with.”
Big Rush reports a new mixtape will drop next month, and the new tracks streaming at myspace.com/westallah show promise; he wisely recruited 8th Wundah for the leadoff single “Bad Man,” the Auto-Tune hook on “West Allah” will cling to your dome, and file “Cat Food” under yet another hip-hop connotation for currency (see: cream, cheddar, etc.).
“For the most part, music has become a full-time job for me,” Big Rush said, “and I intend to keep it that way.”
BIG RUSH + CURTAINS | Saturday, August 14 @ 9 pm | Jerky’s Bar, 71 Richmond Street, Providence | $7 | 18+ | 401.621.2244
BIG RUSH + JOHN ROSE | Sunday, August 15 @ 10 pm | Tommy’s Lounge, 99 India Street, Pawtucket | $5 | 18+ | 401.722.1934
BIG RUSH w/ Rhyme Culture open-mic | Wednesday, August 18 @ 10 pm | Rhino Bar, 337 Thames Street, Newport | 18+ | Free | 401.846.0707