There is no denying the ambition and hustle of one Sean Rosch, aka lyricist Big Rush, who has been putting in work over the past five years and is readying his fourth full-length release, titled Alford Plea, set to drop on Christmas Day. Having known Rosch since his 2009 debut It's Just Business, the dude is equal parts outspoken and introspective with plenty to get off his chest. Haters be damned, Big Rush is going all in.
First things first — I had to ask about the album title; I had a feeling there was a personal correlation. According to Rosch, he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon for "something stupid" and had to take an "Alford plea" to avoid a trial (basically, you don't necessarily admit guilt but aren't confident enough to take the case to trial). Apparently, a slight case of road rage led to a five-year suspended sentence along with five years of probation.
"I threw change at a car while driving on the highway, but the so-called 'victims' lied and said I threw M80s in their car and they exploded and caused burns and all kinds of craziness," he said. "I had to take a plea because I admitted to the police that I threw the change thinking it wouldn't be a big deal, but apparently throwing it on the highway is considered assault with a deadly weapon, and I couldn't get out of it.
"My album is about everything I went through over the past year," he noted.
Rosch was born in Albany, NY and graduated from Bryant University; he recently relocated to Meriden, CT for a sales job, and was allowed to transfer his probation.
"It was my only chance at a good-paying job so I took it and bounced," he said.Rosch sent over a preview copy of the new album, and his wordplay sounds stronger than ever. Alford Plea follows 2011's Clean & Sober, which addressed his pill addiction and eventual sobriety. I brought up a night in 2010 when I saw Rosch in the crowd at the Met. He was sitting alone and looked pretty down, noting that some people previously in his corner had bailed after he went clean.
"Yeah, not a lot of people vibed with the 'Clean & Sober' movement because they didn't want to be clean and sober," he said matter-of-factly when we spoke last week.
While Rosch admits he will have a drink or two "here and there," he is tested by his probation officer regularly.
"Alcohol was never really an issue for me, it was the pills," he said.
And while Big Rush says he doesn't really see or feel a big difference between wiring rhymes sober or high ("You get accustomed to behavior until it just becomes a habit"), his bars on Alford Plea display a clear-headed lyricist rhyming with conviction. Rush recently released a video for "Remember Me"; similar to Rhody brethren like Meta P (who will perform a set at the Alford release show), Big Rush steadily calls out the influx of swagger-jacked rap bozos. "Regrets" and "Ain't No Sunshine" are standouts, and even the two-minute "Introduction" is noteworthy. "I ain't never givin' up, I'm hungry, man — I'm grindin', Rush declares in "On My Grind" (featuring DuBBz). "Heart" is hands-down my personal favorite, with Rush and renowned Rhody rap hero Chachi Carvalho (also owner of Beatbox Studios in Pawtucket) taking the bassline for a walk in one of the hardest tracks on the album. No hooks or fucking around here — just two wordsmiths clawing the booth to shreds. Alford Plea will be available at the upcoming CD release show, as well as iTunes.