South Jersey is breeding a new pool of talent. Among the pack is Rosario. His lyrical prowess and flow is making him a standout, DIY rapper in the area. His latest release is a four track EP titled Common Ground. The record shows a new side of the rapper as it highlights a major transitional period in his life. He’ll be performing at the second annual Gallowave Music and Arts Fest on June 15th in Atlantic City. Get to know this rising performer before the show. You can purchase tickets here.
As he dove into the world of beats and working with producers, Rosario was entering a whole new era of his life. Having previously been in a punk band, this was a major change. He has more access to a studio, an extremely helpful producer, and an abundance of ideas greatly inspired by everything around him. That effort and artistic vision shines through on Common Ground. The record was brought to life through the assistance of producer Michael Moore of Purple Door Studios. The track Never Been Better was laid out in a single afternoon. Rosario opened up about the record and the process behind it, “It is a record that has a lot of new flavors as far as things I’ve been working on contextually as well as sonically. It’s a lot new sounds I haven’t worked with before. Transitioning from the punk stuff I’ve been doing and full band instrumentation to let’s work on beats. It has been a transitional period for me musically, emotionally, physically the past few years. The record is a representation of those things in sonic form. The single Never Been Better that’s like one of the biggest transitions in my life lately that has inspired a softer song.”
Much of his songwriting comes from a place of honesty and emotional depth. “The things that were going on in my life were really heavy hitting and I wanted to write aggressively about. Now it’s hitting softer and I want to write softer things. Writing those detached feelings. Trying to make sure those new emotions I have are actually how I am feeling them and transitioning to a new genre that still has hints of what I know and like to write.”
Writing has always been an outlet for Rosario. He began writing at a young age as he dove into writing stories. With limited things to do in his hometown, his love for writing continued to grow and transformed into poetry and songwriting. These transitions followed him throughout major life moments like high school and all that comes with being a teenager. “Investing in yourself and other people emotionally was something to do. When I started writing music there were so many feelings going on. You know when you’re teenager you’ve got the hormones going and shit. Trying to find a way to be healthy about it. I don’t want to hurt myself with the way I’m feeling I want to be able to express. You can keep to yourself enough, but still have this healthy outlet. As a kid it was like I could write this down and feel it.”
Before taking on the world as Rosario, he was in a punk band called A Change of Plans. They have since disbanded, but the band was still a pivotal point of growth for him. Having gone from a full band writing process to just himself has been a major creative turning point for Rosario He is continuously breaking out of his comfort zone and trying something new and unique. “Writing punk music kind of put me into a box because I wrote the same song over and over again. While the content may be different or a guitar riff may be different, it was really the same stuff. I was hesitant to write with other people. What I am doing, I don’t know how to work the systems that producers do. I don’t know how to make my own beats. I can do stuff on Garage Band and hear stuff in my head, but it’s a very different writing process. With full band I can hear it all in my head and write it out, with this new stuff it has helped me transition to writing with other people better. It’s a culmination of working with people that don’t want to compromise my vision, but aid it.”
One person that is heavily aiding his artistic vision is Michael. Their relationship has empowered Rosario as an artist and helped fill in the blanks for the songs on the record. “If I have an idea I can call him up and say ‘Yo Mike let’s get it done’. It’s nice because I’ll come up with ideas and he’ll bounce off of them and come up with this perfect piece that will fit exactly what I wanted.”
His spark could be seen from even before the release of Common Ground. He collaborated with Snowden for the single Jump. The two collaborated with Michael Moore and Two Plates for the track. “Snowden is the mastermind behind it. That was also done with Michael Moore and co-produced by Two Plates. I wouldn’t be a rapper if I never met him. Back in high school I was pretending that I was a rapper and he was a rapper. He said ‘you’re not a rapper’ and I said ‘yeah I am’ and we met rap battling in gym class. I didn’t think we would be like best friends now.”
With the right team behind and a buzzing rap scene in South Jersey, Rosario has everything falling into place for a promising rest of 2019. He values community over creativity and it shows through his words and actions. Listeners can find relatable content and songs they can bump all summer long. “I think it’s the same message it has always had. I feel a lot of things and I think they’re relatable. Me taking those specific instances of feeling and translating them to a sound and an emotional escape that people can melt into, that’s something that I want to do. I want people to go ‘wow I really fucking feel this’” Don’t miss your chance to see him live next weekend at Gallowave Music and Arts Festival!