Russ – “Chomp 2” review

Russ is a 29 year old rapper, producer & singer-songwriter from Secaucus, New Jersey who’s released 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, quickly becoming one of hip hop’s most polarizing figures in recent memory. Primarily 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. Shake the Snowglobe was slightly better & his debut EP CHOMP last year ended up being his best work so far, although it’s because the features & producers carried. But to close out the year, Russ bringing an all-star cast of well-respected names for his 12th mixtape.

“Sheep” kicks off the whole thing with a skeletal boom bap beat from Jake One with fake woke lyrics attached onto it whereas “Blue Chip” works in a groovy mR. pOrTeR instrumental & Ransom’s verse at the backend is more aggressive than Russ’ at the start. “Bucket Hat Low” has some cool background vocals & Papoose’s verse starts it off well, but Russ’ signature narcissistic attitude at the end straight up kills it. Hi-Tek provides a more west coast sound for “Nothin’ New” where The Game’s wordplay is really the star of it all leading into the soulful “Salute” produced by 9th Wonder which starts off with a mediocre verse, but then Styles P & Westside Gunn pick it back up talking about being undisputed.

Meanwhile on “Faith”, we have Jadakiss accompanying Russ to encourage trusting yourself even though the beat is plain as fuck just before the DJ Premier-laced “Free” goes into boom bap turf talking about being only human as Big K.R.I.T. & Snoop Dogg dominate it. “Top of the World” with Jay Electronica has an airy Harry Fraud beat serving as a cool victory lap, but then “Note to Self” feels like a microwaved leftover from Big Sean’s latest EP What You Expect? down to the Hit-Boy instrumental.

“Hustler” is basically a short yet decent freestyle with a more interesting Jake One beat while “Distance” has a NASTY boom bap instrumental from The Alchemist taking shots at their doubters even though it doesn’t sound like Conway the Machine or Ghostface Killah are throwing a temper tantrum on wax. The song “Get It” fuses some dusty drums & pianos with the help of Statik Selektah motivating listeners with CyHi the Prynce & Lloyd Banks’ verses not sounding forced while the penultimate track “Enjoy the View” has an explosive Bink! beat & Russ keeps up with Mozzy talking about letting the success continue to roll in. “Golden” then ends the album with a wintery Boi-1da instrumental addressing people turning on him & the hook is just atrocious.

I will say that this tape is better than it’s predecessor, but by a small margin. Much like the first Chomp, the features & production are all A1. However, it’s Russ’ actual songwriting & performances that bog it down. Like it’s cool for him to bring these bigger names on board, but they shouldn’t have to carry a whole project from him or anyone. Out of touch old heads will still eat it up though.

Score: 2.5/5

Russ – “Chomp” review

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”

Score: 2.5/5

Russ – “Shake the Snow Globe” review

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Russ is a 26 year old rapper, producer & singer-songwriter from Secaucus, New Jersey who’s released 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, quickly becoming one of hip hop’s most polarizing figures in recent memory. Primarily 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. However, my morbid curiosity got the best of me for this new album based on the features & the production credits. Will he finally wow me? Let’s find out.

The opener “NEED A MINUTE” is actually ok as Russ talks about what he’s achieved so far over this mellow acoustic instrumental & while the following song “GUESS WHAT” has a vibrant instrumental from Boi-1da, the bragging on here is more egotistical than charming & the Rick Ross verse is pretty weak. “A LOT MORE” also produced by Boi-1da has a more woozier sound to it with Russ’ verses about having more to accomplish sounding completely genuine & while I can appreciate the uptempo beat on “CAN’T GO ON”, it’s theme about breaking up with this woman is melodramatic to me. The song “ASSHOLE” is a temper tantrum about why people don’t like him similar to that on ZOO backed with a redundant Bugus verse whereas the track “NIGHTTIME” is less of an interlude & more of a poorly-delivered relationship ballad. Then there’s the Kiana Ledé-duet “ALL TO YOU”, which is reminiscent to Machine Gun Kelly & Camila Cabello’s “Bad Things”.

The alcohol anthem “SHOTS” doesn’t have the invigorating delivery that I’d normally expect on songs like these despite the vibrant !llmind instrumental & despite the cloudy production on “PATIENCE”, it truly lives up to its title as it delivers more patience-testing relationship melodrama. Not only is “I THOUGHT YOU GOT ME” is about how this woman is unlike any other over a skeletal instrumental, but even Benny the Butcher’s verse on here isn’t all that good & this is coming from someone who’s been praising Griselda’s music for years. Devin the Dude easily has the best feature on the entire album on the song “FOOT ON THE GAS”, which is a decent tune about living life to the fullest. The acoustic/boom bap infused “MOMMA” is a tribute to Russ’ mother that sounds like it comes from the heart & despite the bouncy instrumental on the penultimate track “CIVIL WAR”, the whole comparison of a relationship to a civil war is just corny to me. Then it finishes with “BEST ON EARTH” with BIA, which is another “Bad Things” rip-off.

While it is titled Shake the Snow Globe, it’s not really rocking my world at all. There are aspects about this album that I enjoy more than previous efforts like how he brought some more outside producers to the table as well as more features, nothing about him continues to stick out to me. Especially as a performer & songwriter. I really don’t get how he rips on the current state of hip hop for being too materialistic when he‘s made gotten materialistic on cute himself in the past, including on this album. And while I‘m not against pop rap or love songs AT ALL, I just can’t imagine his take on it getting anyone in that mood.

Score: 1.5/5

Russ – “ZOO” review

Russ is a 25 year old rapper, producer & singer-songwriter from Secaucus, New Jersey. He’s released a total of 11 mixtapes on SoundCloud from 2011 up to 2014, eventually landing a contract with Columbia Records in 2016. He made his full-length debut last year with There’s Really a Wolf & within the past 16 months since that release, he has become one of hip hop’s most polarizing figures in recent memory. Primarily because of being a “fake activist” against drugs & then there’s an unignorable interview resurfaced from 2016 where he literally said “we need to blame producers for all the wack music today”. All of that aside, I‘ve decided to give this sophomore album of his a fair chance.

Things actually start off with “The Flute Song”, where Russ talks about doing whatever he wants when he wants over a flute-tinged trap beat from Scott Storch. It’s actually not bad at all, but I really just don’t understand why an immensely talented keyboardist & producer like Scott has been collaborating with Russ so much lately. The next track “Outlaw” compares himself to just that over a soulful boom bap beat from Russ himself (who of course produces the rest of the album solely) while the song “Kill Them All” is essentially a temper tantrum in response to the backlash he has received with a generically gritty trap beat. The track “Missing You” is a painful breakup anthem with an acoustic trap beat while the song “Voicemail” is basically him begging this girl to get back to him over an acoustic boom bap beat. The track “Parkstone Drive” is about never giving up over a laidback instrumental while the song “Begging You” is basically Russ telling himself to staying strong over a somber yet punchy beat. The hook is hilarious bad, too.

The track “Serious” is a simp anthem with a moody instrumental while the song “Keep My Wits” egotistically talks about his success over a nondescript beat. The track “Our Time” talks about a long distance relationship over some plinky keys & hard hitting drums while the song “From a Distance” tells this woman to look for someone who has more free time over something Drake would’ve sung over on VIEWS. The track “Last Forever” is about longevity over some rich keys & faint hi-hats, but the only things that give it credit are the verses from Snoop Dogg & Rick Ross. The song “Keep It Pushin’” is a sappy description of a teenage relationship with a moody beat & the closer “Fuck That” is another temper tantrum over a beat that generically sounds like something Dr. Dre would’ve produced in the early 2000s.

This is slightly better than anything he’s done before, but that’s not saying much. The production is basic & when Russ isn’t telling melodramatic relationship stories, he’s either being self-centered or lashing out in a fit of bitter rage.

Score: 1/5