Big Stove. “It’s not just a name; it’s a whole appliance,” Michael Stover, junior applied communications major said. “Big Stove” was a nickname Stover received during ROTC in high school, but now “Big Stove” isn’t just what his friends call him, it has come to identify Stover as a hip-hop artist on the rise with a message that’s as unique as his name.
Big Stove was involved with music long before he made it himself. Up until 2005, Stove focused entirely on the business side of things and remained out of the spotlight. When Stove’s cousin, an aspiring rapper, passed away in 2005, Stove made the decision to live out his cousin’s legacy. Stove said, since then, his career as a rapper has fallen into place.
Within three months of putting his first song up on Myspace, Big Stove was offered a live performance at the Metropolis Nightclub in Cleveland. From there, Stove worked mostly with his musical group Therl Bread doing more shows, television competitions, radio shows and festivals.
When Stove moved from Euclid to Kent for school in 2008, it was difficult to make the commute to Euclid every time he wanted to create music, so Stove decided to begin working as a solo artist. “When I first got here, I didn’t know a soul,” said Stove, but performing his solo material at one of Kent’s talent shows during the beginning of his college career served as an introduction to hundreds of Kent State students.
Since then, Stove has remained very active at Kent State. Hosting a radio show on Black Squirrel Radio for the sixth semester, acting as president for the campus group “Any Form of Expression,” mentoring high school students with the Upward Bound program and hosting campus events like “RU KSU?” has steadily increased recognition of Big Stove’s name and music amongst the Kent State community.
The newest, most exciting series of events in the rise of Big Stove was his new artist promotional contract with Def Jamz established on Jan 21. Stove said he was approached by a Def Jamz talent scout who offered Def Jamz’s promotional services for a fee that Stove said was undoubtedly worth the cost. These services include sending Stove’s press kit to 10 major labels, 339 indie labels, 249 radio stations and 80 TV networks.
Stove said that the goal is to gain publicity and ultimately get signed, but not necessarily with Def Jamz. Stove said it just depends who makes the first offer. “It’s only been not even a month yet, and I have my music on Sirius radio. You can buy my music on iTunes and Amazon... I had my first photo shoot the other day... Three weeks ago, a filmmaker heard my music on Sirius and wants to add me to a movie soundtrack, so a lot of stuff is happening and it’s always getting better.”
Stove says regardless of what happens, Kent State has influenced a great deal of his music and that won’t stop any time soon. Stove said his new song “Skool Boy Fresh,” which is available on iTunes, is basically about school life and having fun. “You have your headphones in and your iPod in your hand and your cell phone and you go to class.” Stove said if he receives the opportunity to do a music video for the song, he wants to bring back the ‘90s trend of shooting music videos on college campuses by shooting the video for “Skool Boy Fresh” on Kent’s campus. Stove said he thinks shooting videos on college campuses serves as a little extra encouragement for kids to go to college in hope of experiencing the fun seen in the videos.
Stove says his music is different from many other rappers today because he wants to have a good reputation and be an example for young listeners. “Kids will learn a rap song before they learn their ABCs,” said Stove. “If it’s positive, then they’ll remember it forever. If you’re singing about having fun and education, things of that nature, it will have a positive effect on [the listener]... Anything I do in front of the camera, I want people to look at and be like ‘Okay, I want to be like Big Stove... He’s at school doing what he has to do.’” Not to mention, having a lot of fun while he does it.