Timing has been everything for Sean Rose. Timing, coupled with hustle and passion, has made the 22-year-old one of the fastest-rising MCs in Las Vegas. However, on one August afternoon, timing wasn’t on Rose’s side. Sitting on a bench outside sneaker haven UNDFTD, I wait an hour for Rose to show up. What makes Rose think he can be fashionably late for this interview? Maybe it’s the 5 a.m. phone call from R. Kelly who stumbled across his music earlier this year. Or perhaps the e-mail from Kanye West who heard his Rose to the Occasion project through a friend? How about when he impressed Lupe Fiasco when he rhymed for him? Just as I’m about to label the upstart a premature prima donna, Rose hops out of a truck and apologetically explains his situation: He was taking care of his 4-month-old daughter. “She’s a handful,” Rose says as he mentions that he’s struggling with splitting time between being a dad and an artist. “But without her, my drive to succeed wouldn’t be where it is today.”
Being a good father is important to Rose, because it was his father who inspired him to try music. A military brat born in Fort Riley, Kan., who settled in Las Vegas in 1996, he traveled the country with his father constantly playing hip-hop. Rose wanted to create what his father loved and began penning rhymes at age 11. By high school, Rose’s talent was noticed by his peers. However, the unlikelihood of making it in the music business kept hip-hop as a hobby.
That all changed when he met Def Jam executive VP Shakir Stewart in 2008. It was Stewart’s words that forever transformed Rose. “He said that I could make a living making music,” Rose says. Stewart would have likely signed Rose, but the executive committed suicide later that year. Nonetheless, those words coupled with the birth of his daughter left Rose no choice but to press forward.
With the recently released SUMMRTME, SUNSHNE, NGHTFALL album creating a buzz and landing him on MTV Rapfix earlier this month, Rose’s dreams are coming to fruition. His rhymes about being a dreamer who struggles like any other human being have caught the ear of several major record labels. However, the MC has decided to remain independent while continuing to build his brand with Overdrive slated for the fall before he makes a move. It all comes back to where we started: timing.
“It’s about being at the right place at the right time and being ready for whatever situation comes your way.”