Not many small-town rappers have the chance open for a platinum-selling hip-hop artist. But for one rookie who calls Logan County, Okla., home, that dream came true March 27.
Bru Swain is a Guthrie-based emcee who, over the past year, has gained some notoriety not only from his hometown, but some neighboring counties. His debut mixtape, "Phases," was released online via Datpiff and Bandcamp for free download March 2013.
The nine- song project contains a variety of beat styles and lyrical content that goes over well not only with the home crowd in "the Gut," but also with fans and peers throughout Central Oklahoma. Moreover, having gigs in other areas, such as Ada and Oklahoma City, with other rappers from the Sooner State hasn't hurt one bit, either.
All his hard work and networking paid off in a big way when Bru had the opportunity to open for former Columbia recording artist and two-time platinum rapper Lil' Flip on March 27 in Altus, Okla. Following the show, Bru shared his thoughts and feelings about walking on that stage and the crowd reaction.
"When I stepped foot on that stage, I heard Eminem's 'Lose Yourself' in my head immediately," Bru told Examiner in a March 30 interview. "'Lose yourself in the moment. You own it. You better never let it go!'
"All jokes aside, I was nervous," he continued. "It was my biggest show yet. (I've) never seen a crowd that big yet. The crowd reaction? Everybody responded differently. Half were digging it; the other half were like, 'Why is he on stage?' I was, for sure, the most unique artist there, so I stuck out. But I had fun! I did my thing like always, dude."
Changing up the usual "Phases"-based set list, Bru performed newer tracks, including "Lay Low," "Xanny Bars" and "Bloody Knuckles," the third of which he debuted at the show.
Though the performance was a huge moment, 21-year-old hip-hop rookie said he understands that this is just the first milestone of a career that requires ambition and thick skin.
"I mean, sure, it was a lot of exposure," he said. "But my career will still take a lot of hard work to get where I want to be. Nothing but straight up dedication from here on out."
- Video bonus: To learn more about Bru Swain, please access the clip embedded with this post.