This week, I really wanted to feature the new albums from Sadistik or Alias, but I ultimately decided that I had to get right with the hip-hop gods by featuring a freebie I had slept on for a couple weeks.
Rapper/producer Russ dropped “Silence” three weeks ago, but the DIEMON producer’s LP is well worth a reach back. “Silence” is a skillful, R&B-tinged 14-song effort, but, more than anything, it’s a window to a un-cautiously swaggering artist with a habit of passing out top-notch gratis content.
“Silence” follows in the path of January’s “Pink Elephant,” March’s “Brain Dead,” 2013’s “Color Blind,” and 2012’s “Vacation.” Yes, while your favorite rapper makes you pay for his half-baked major label pawn-offs, this dude has released a steady tide of quality free shit. That’s the type of guy we like around here.
“Silence” is perhaps the emcee’s most balanced effort yet. Russ is at times soulful and bare on “Silence” (“Yellow,” “Naked”), showing shades of Frank Ocean and Drake, and other times he busts loose with unadulterated confidence (“Comin Thru,” “Army”), ripping through verses with an edge that makes his soulful asides feel like a peek under the veil. With these shallow pools of confidence balanced by gloomy retreats into the heart, Russ mimics the manic dichotomy of the rap ego. This self-awareness makes “Silence” a refreshingly honest listen, despite a rapidly downsloping ending that features an inane Chioma chorus and a fucking intolerable appearance from a drunk-on-Autotune Collie Buddz.
Keep your eyes on Russ. This will not likely be the Atlanta musician’s last complimentary record, which is great news for hip-hop heads on a budget.
Be sure to give those Sadistik and Alias records a stream, too, but maybe after you comb through three or four Russ albums.