This is the brand new surprise EP from New Jersey rapper, singer, songwriter & producer Russ. After releasing a total of 11 mixtapes on SoundCloud from 2011 up to 2014, he wound up signing Columbia Records in 2016 & made his full-length debut last year with There’s Really a Wolf. However, the dude became one of hip hop’s most polarizing figures in recent memory because of being a “fake activist” against drugs & then there’s his infamous 2016 interview with DJ Vlad the culture vulture where he literally said “we need to blame producers for all the wack music today”. His 2018 follow-up ZOO kinda caught my interest due to “The Flute Song”, but the end result of it being taken over by this annoyingly bitter demeanor. This was followed up at the beginning of the year with Shake the Snowglobe which was SLIGHTLY better but now, he’s celebrating his freedom from Columbia by dropping CHOMP.
The EP begins with “Stockholm Syndrome”, where Russ & KXNG CROOKED talk about how they’re playing a whole nother game over a dreary string-laced beat. The next song “Who Wants What?” with Ab-Soul sees the 2 looking for people to challenge them over a ghostly beat while the track “Inside Job” gets in an ugly egocentric mood over a luxurious beat from DJ Premier. The song “Line ‘Em Up” with Busta Rhymes finds the 2 talking about knocking out their competition over a boom bap instrumental from The Alchemist with a hypnotic sample while the closer “Momentum” with Black Thought & Benny the Butcher sees the trio talking about how far they’ve all come over a soulful beat from 9th Wonder.
I can honestly say this EP is the best thing Russ has done yet. However, it’s still very much a mixed bag in my personal opinion. He is consistently outshined by the amount of legendary features & guest producers on every single joint throughout, as Russ’ own rapping & production are all still mediocre at best. All the Mountain Dew chugging “real hip hop” elitists & out-of-touch old heads will probably eat this up though because to them, getting all these iconic names whom I respect A LOT automatically makes it a “classic”