Review: For better or worse, Russ gets personal on ‘SHAKE THE SNOW GLOBE’

Known for repeatedly flaunting his success, the artist doesn’t scale back

Russ Facebook | Photo Courtesy
Russ recently unveiled plans to embark on a 26-show nationwide tour.

Contemporary rap artist Russell “Russ” Vitale has been chasing rap stardom for years now. Having released nearly 200 songs over the past decade, Russ often puts out a single a week for months at a time, keeping fans satisfied in-between albums.

For the average reader that may not be familiar with his antics, Russ is often criticized and tossed aside for his controversial comments about not be praised enough as an artist in the growing industry. While most of these shots are thrown at companies such as XXL and Complex, he doesn’t hold back from speaking out towards his social media critics.

Others disregard the artist for his seemingly never-ending lyrics about how he’s grown in the past few years and has proclaimed himself as one of the humblest artists in the game while choosing to remain in the underground.

On previous albums, he’s claimed that people who doubt him are “crackheads and clowns” and that reporters are “clickbait journalists.” Despite the vast amount of people that neglect him, Russ has still managed to garner a large fan base and strives to make music for the people that appreciate him as an artist.

The singer released an impressive 11 albums between 2011 and 2014 before signing to record label Columbia in 2017. After signing, Russ dropped two albums, “There’s Really a Wolf” and “Zoo”, which were both met with mixed reviews.

It wasn’t for another two years that he would release his third LP, “SHAKE THE SNOW GLOBE.”

From the beginning track, it’s clear that the rapper doesn’t plan on cutting down his inspirational success-story lyrics. On “NEED A MINUTE”, Russ reflects on how he grew into his popularity in the industry, while still “living in the underground” in his eyes; a reference to remaining humble.

This theme isn’t lost throughout the rest of the project, as he belts out on other tracks such as “A LOT MORE” and “PATIENCE” that he’s been working hard for years and it’s beginning to pay off. While this message can be inspiring to listeners in small doses, it quickly becomes repetitive and redundant.

Buried within the over-enthusiastic lines about hard work and accomplishment is the emotional track “MOMMA”. It’s his “acceptance speech” song, imagining if he were to ever be nominated and win a Grammy in his career.

One impressive feat is that Russ continues to demand full control in the creation of his music. Every song is produced, mixed, mastered, recorded and written by himself.

This creative process can be challenging when other artists collaborate with him. Features such as Rick Ross and BIA don’t bring anything inventive or new, seemingly inserting “copy and paste” verses that don’t add any depth to the album.

It seems as if the collaborators were only brought in to further prove that Russ works better alone and thrives when he can make music on his terms.

While this album may be more of the same, he’s certainly learning that making music his fans find inspiring and appreciate him for works best. Russ is starting to let go of others’ opinions of him and appreciate himself before anything else.

As Russ aims for a direct audience, this project is sure to please his core fanbase. The project aims to be inspirational with smooth and crooning melodies.

There’s no doubt that he will continue to hustle and push through the crowded field of rappers to place his name in his history book if no other.

Review: 2/5

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