Rose started his recording career as a solo artist for record producers Yabby You and Niney the Observer. He joined Black Uhuru in 1977 after the departure of Don Carlos and Garth Dennis. He led them to international success in the early 1980s, having written most of their popular material. They won the first-ever Grammy Award for reggae in 1985 for the album Anthem, with the hallmark voice of Rose in the forefront.
After the release of Anthem, Rose left Black Uhuru and retired to the Blue Mountains in Jamaica to start a coffee farm. He released a string of singles in Jamaica, but nothing much was heard of him outside the island until 1989, when he was signed to RCA and released the strongly pop influenced album Proud in Europe and Japan.