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It’s been a good year for rap so far. Kendrick released a great new album that a bunch of white people who lie about loving rap pretended to listen to. Jay Z dropped his best album in over a decade, somehow proving that cheating on Beyoncé saved his career. Drake dropped a dope new “playlist” called More Life. Also, why the fuck does he insist on referring to it as a “playlist!?” It’s an album, Drake; just call it a damn album. You’re not special.
On top of all that, Slim Shady is dropping his first album in 4 years sometime before 2018 (but I’m still freaked out by his new beard), and our lord and savior Yeezus Christ will apparently drop a new album during that timeframe as well… but I’ll believe it when I see it. It took The Life of Pablo 3 years to finally drop and it changed titles like 700 times. But buried underneath all those bigger names is a rising star who isn’t too well known yet.
His name is Russ. He’s a 24-year-old up-and-coming MC, and a few months ago he dropped his debut album. The album, There’s Really A Wolf, is by far the most underrated rap album of the year, and one of the best albums of the year period… and none of you dastardly douchebiscuits have listened to it yet. Shame on you.
I’ll be the first to admit that I had no idea who Russ was until pretty recently, when a friend of mine kept recommending I check the album out. I kept forgetting about it but he was oddly persistent in his endeavor, like a creepy fuckboy pursuing a girl who keeps turning down his date proposals. One night, I gave in, sat back, and listened to the whole album front to back with no skips. And I was blown the fuck away.
It kicks off with “I’m Here,” my personal favorite song on the album. No hook, just crazy bars for a few minutes. It’s phenomenal. But the album doesn’t go full Jason Biggs in American Pie by blowing its wad too quick; it remains on fire the whole time. It’s 20 songs long, and when an album features 20 tracks, it’s easy for it be packed with filler. But this album has no filler at all. Every single track bangs, and that’s no easy feat.
It’d be lazy to describe Russ by comparing him to another artist. But, if I had to, it would be Drake, as both seamlessly mix together rap and R&B, frequently within the same breath. The album’s biggest single, “What They Want,” is one of the best examples of this.
Russ has been at this for a decade, and I know this because he never stops mentioning it. But it makes sense that it’s taken him this long to get where he is today; there’s that old saying “it takes 10 years to become an overnight success,” which references the painfully relentless grinding you must do to find success in the music industry. There’s also “The 10,000 Hour Rule,” the philosophy that it takes that long to truly master an art form. But I respectfully disagree; it only took me like 10 minutes to master being the worst writer of all time. But not everyone can be a prodigy like me.
In the aforementioned “What They Want,” he refers to himself as a “DIY pioneer,” and it’s easy to see why. He makes his own beats, writes all his songs, records and masters them himself — the whole nine yards. My point is that I feel like this guy is eventually gonna blow up like the hospital The Joker bombed in The Dark Knight, and this is your chance to become a fan of his before he’s famous. Just think — in a few short years, you can be that douchey hipster fuckface who gets to say, “I liked him before he was cool,” who is someone we all aspire to be.
This album is a damn musical masterpiece and I can’t stop bumping it. Listen to it; you won’t regret it. It’s criminally underrated… for now..
Image via YouTube