Hip-Hop

Before There’s Really a Wolf: 5 essential early Russ tracks

Atlanta-based rapper and producer Russ has been crunching in numbers well before “What They Want” went platinum this year.

His confidence in his craft and consistency shines through the 11 albums he released independently before his biggest single glowed brightly among his 87 SoundCloud uploads.

Last month he released his debut album There’s Really A Wolf and continues to roll in streams by the millions. However, here are some pre-album bangers to bump to get hyped for his tour stop at Myth on Sunday.

“Sideline Number”

This first number is a smooth joint. Infusing real instruments into his beats and spreading a jazzy, R&B vibe isn’t unheard of for Russ, rather his versatility has undoubtedly aided in his rise.

Side chicks and secondary phone numbers are concepts written all over hip-hop tracks, but what sets Russ apart with this track is his wordplay and ability to seamlessly blend genres. The line in the bridge that makes this one sticks is, “I know you’re hot, but I can’t get got.”

“Yung God”

The multi-talented Russ doesn’t only have a way with charming or playing ladies (depending on on how you look at it), but is also a symbol for self-confidence. Particularly, in “Yung God” he raps, “Society tryna’ reduce me to simplicity/But little do they know that I’m designed by the divinity.” He knows his worth and isn’t afraid to regularly remind his listeners of that.

This song has nostalgic elements of early 2000s music that the 24-year-old likely grew up on. The falsetto ad libs and repetitive breakdown sounds boy band-esque – but more badass, of course – and the cockiness in the lyrics reads like an Eminem track. “Single Parent Anthem” is another older Russ track that that includes a vivid storytelling that goes in-depth on family issues recipe that many in Em’s catalog follow.

“Understand That Too” Featuring Bugus

Behind the player mentality and plentiful boosts of self-confidence, Russ makes it a point to honor his family and close friends. Bugus is not only a longtime member of the Diemon label and crew, but also seems to be Russ’ ride or die. When money really started to stack, Russ treated his mom to a new car and included co-rapper Bugus on private jet rides. Loyalty is exactly what comes through in this joint track that the pair dropped two summers ago.

Russ trusts Bugus to set the tone for the track in the opening verse about celebrating not only worldwide success, but also his college graduation. The swift handoff of verses between the rappers in this fast-paced track that’s infused with Russ’ signature sing-rap swing is similar to early Drake collabs like “HYFR” with Lil Wayne.

“Too Many”

“Too Many” is another upbeat song of self-conviction as Russ raps, “Y’all ain’t working hard as me that’s facts.” In this one, Russ casually shouts out his friend Bugus and all the Saudi ladies he’d wife if they would let him.

The piano-driven production is similar to the iconic 2 Chainz “Watch Out” beat, likewise making the track dangerously catchy. And the hook is just infectious:

“1 time 2 times too many

I said 3 times 4 times too many

I said 5 times 6 times too many

You done fucked up 1 time too many yeah.”

“We Just Haven’t Met Yet”

This last one is a testament to Russ’ ability to croon. The track is an acoustic guitar ditty where the young artist gets raw and personal when describing his dream girl. “Baby I’m amazed by you, we just haven’t met yet,” he sings.

The no-frills vibe of this track is true to the Atlanta-based artist’s overall aesthetic. He isn’t afraid to show his true colors on any topic, whether he’s singing about spending the rest of his life with a girl who isn’t concerned with superficial and worldly desires or creating a rap diss track dedicated to whole music industry (see: “Exposed.”)

Don’t forget to grab some last minute tickets to see Russ bring There’s Really A Wolf and hopefully some of these singles to life on Sunday.

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