Respect The Neighbors • Russ

Age: 22  •  Hometown: Atlanta, GA  •  Follow: Twitter // Soundcloud

Russ is a swiss army knife, one whose approach to music is undefined but results are undeniable. The Atlanta rapper makes real music, and he’s going to do that in any way possible. Russ moved all over the country as a kid before his family settled outside of Atlanta, and you can hear that in his songs; there’s no regionalism here, no Migos flow or Metro production. Atlanta kicks ass, but no doubt the Diemon Crew rapper's scattershot method is a good thing. The Atlanta soup of musicians and competition has spawned some incredible tunes, but it's important that artists like Russ exist to rewrite the handbook every now then. It’s what gave Atlanta its prominence in the first place earlier on, as the country’s music tastes moved from the coasts to down south. Nowadays, the creative tug of war is between Chicago and Atlanta, and Russ is helping the South continue its serious pull.

Essential Listens

Russ’s music snaps with an undeniable freshness, crisp and clear. His sounds are across the board, but each has something that makes you think “Russ”, further cementing him outside of the crowd. If you need a comparison, Drake wouldn’t be a bad place to start, but in a sense that defeats the purpose of what Russ is doing here. Each track is so tight it snaps, regardless of his modus operandi. Russ has shown his ability to approach a track from any direction, and that's true whether he's on the mic or behind the boards. Yes, he does all his own production, and we mean all. Some of it is sparse, nothing but skeleton drums and his voice. Some it is almost electronic in its influence, with thick bass lines and wubs. Vocally it’s the same thing; he can whip out his drawl and croon with the best of them, or drop rapid-fire bursts of rap so deadly you’d think he left the safety off. The common ground? It’s all very, very clean. Pristine.

In fact, his ability to explore different styles and sounds is only matched by his imitator-crushing rate at which his output flies onto SoundCloud. It seems that we’re looking at a song a week, and his page is never stocked under 60 tracks. Sitting at almost 70,000 followers, people know that they can count on Russ for new music. The music industry is starting to take notice of Russ's work ethic and draw for fans. There's been news of Russ in the studio with GOOD Music's Mike Dean, as well as meetings with Rick Rubin. Will he be able to navigate the game and maintain his identity as Atlanta's chameleon? Let's hope so; to push him towards one sound is to push away from being Russ.