Words by Brique
In a world where millions of songs are at our fingertips, it’s tough making time for the artists around you. Brique, an underground rapper himself, brings you some of his favorite indie projects. The best music is being made by people you don’t know yet. If you want to know them before the world does, tune in each week for Brique’s Picks!
In his Chris Rose’s own words: “Born and raised by the highly trained rappers of the Midwest. This project was my first introduction into the city. This was made FOR my city. But to be shown to the world as well.”
Track 1: “Hand Me Downs”
“Mama used to hand me/the sister’s old jammies” raps Rose while introducing the listener to struggles he faced growing up. Despite the seriousness of the topics he discusses, there is an aggressive tone throughout this intro. The production and song structure remind me of early 2010s bangers that were highlighted by catchy hooks and alien-esque flows. An impressive, and revealing, beginning to the project that quickly exposes the listener to the dark yet confident lyricism that becomes even more prevalent as the project goes on.
Track 2: “BUU ft. Josh Petruccio”
A barrage of rapid flow switches and braggadocio lines amplified by demonic vocal effects and a stirring chorus take the depth of Rose’s storytelling to a new level, as the young MC showcases his technical skill like someone who’s been doing this for a long time. The production is a bit more modern, while still containing nostalgic elements of the previous decade.
Track 3: “Dude Love”
Very significant traces of Lil Wayne influence in this – lyrically and in terms of the unpredictable, yet enthralling, rhyme schemes displayed. Rose maintains the energy from the first two tracks and continues his streak of memorable hooks and captivating flows. By this point, the listener should be well-accustomed to his subject matter and violent yet vulnerable delivery.
Track 4: “Hidden In South Central”
The namesake track captures the overall aesthetic and vibes of the project; what impresses me most about Rose’s artistry is his ability to portray emotional storytelling in a way that still bangs and can get anyone hype. Although improved mixing/mastering could certainly make all of these songs so much more fine-tuned for the whip, it’d be tough to not catch yourself bopping your head to these first four songs.
Track 5: “Abandoned Men”
In a surprising, yet very much appreciated, twist of sound, Rose displays a much more laidback delivery on the outro. The first four songs were made for the club. This one is meant for late night drives and reminiscing on life. This is like Future dropping banger after banger and then unexpectedly hitting us with a somber ballad. Production has a West-coast vibe to it – think Nipsey Hussle. A refreshing end to a very solid project that, despite its short duration, does an immaculate job at introducing the listener to his persona while leaving you hungry for more.
Closing Thoughts: I’m genuinely impressed by this project. His flows and delivery are well-ahead of most artists at this level. I have no doubts that given the proper resources and engineering, Chris could go toe-to-toe with the vast majority of rappers, even in the mainstream. “Abandoned Men” shows that he is capable of expanding his range beyond the non-stop bars he spits on the first four tracks. As with most underground artists, mixing and mastering is certainly the weak point, but that doesn’t mean it’s not adequate. I found myself wanting to keep this project on repeat, and ultimately ended up listening to it in full four times. I definitely see myself coming back to it, and I think with more clear direction and upgraded production, Rose can easily become a competitive MC, which is no easy feat in an era where every other college kid is rapping in a dorm.
A Memphis native, and current college senior, Brique tries to bring new perspectives to hip hop commentary. Having been a fan of the genre since 9 years old, he’s explored everyone from Lil Wayne to Scarface to Kid Cudi to Slick Rick and many, many more. An appreciation for the greatest, and the latest, is what Brique strives for, and he hopes you can be part of his musical journey – both as a scholar and a creative! He can be found on Twitter @lilbrickmedia and Instagram @petitbrique