I’m pretty sure I first heard about Russ sometime in 2016. My homegirl Xmvndx went to one of his concerts that year and got to do a meet and greet with him, so she recorded a video of her singing for him. We were both at a show not too long after, I can’t remember if it was one I set up or where we were exactly – I want to say On3TrackMind – but she showed me the video. I obviously didn’t think much of it since I’d never heard of him, but I could tell he must’ve been a pretty big deal since his concert was at a major venue and she was stanning pretty hard.
Around a month later I came across his track “What They Want” somehow and thought that was dope enough to check out more. “Losing Control” didn’t do it for me, but i loved the indie braggadocio of “Do It Myself.” His VladTV interview dropped about a month or two after and that also made me a fan of him as a person because of how honest he was and the fact that he didn’t care who he pissed off in the process. He’s had a handful of polarizing moments since then, but he’s consistently been dropping bangers along the way, and his latest offering’s no exception.
As soon as I saw the features on Russ’s latest EP CHOMP, I knew this was gonna be nonstop bars. Ab-Soul, Busta Rhymes, Benny The Butcher, and Black Thought are all spitters and I’ve never heard anybody get on a beat produced by DJ Premier, The Alchemist, or 9th Wonder and not bring their A-game. The other four tracks were decent – I get the feeling he either put this together pretty quickly or these were throwaways from his next album – but ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ stood out by far; I’m honestly surprised he didn’t drop a video for this one. He flexes on the self-produced beat in true Russ fashion, throwing in some fire quotables and flow switches for good measure and KXNG Crooked also makes sure not to disappoint.
This was a great track to end off the year with, but keep your eyes on him, because – knowing Russ – I’m positive he’s got even more heat lined up for 2021.
Originally published at https://wspus.org/2021/01/second-issue-of-world-socialist/.