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Russ (rapper)

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Russ
Russ in 2018
Russ in 2018
Background information
Birth nameRussell James Vitale[1][2]
Born (1992-09-26) September 26, 1992 (age 31)
Secaucus, New Jersey, U.S.
OriginAtlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
DiscographyRuss discography
Years active2007–present
Labels
Websiteruss.is

Russell James Vitale (born September 26, 1992), known mononymously as Russ, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer.[3][4][5] After eleven self-released albums, Vitale signed with Columbia Records to release his twelfth studio album, There's Really a Wolf (2017). Met with critical and commercial success, the album received platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)[6] and spawned his first Billboard Hot 100 entries—"What They Want" and "Losin Control."[7] His thirteenth and fourteenth albums, Zoo (2018) and Shake the Snow Globe (2020) both peaked at number four on the US Billboard 200; the latter spawned his highest-charting single, "Best on Earth" (featuring Bia). Outside of his solo career, he is part the Atlanta-based hip hop collective Diemon.[8][9][10][11]

Early life[edit]

Russell James Vitale was born on September 26, 1992, in Secaucus, New Jersey. He is of Sicilian descent.[1] Vitale was born into an American family with Sicilian ancestry, which included him and three other siblings.[12] He lived in North Carolina and Kentucky in his childhood due to his father having to constantly relocate due to his career, before his family found a permanent home during his late teenage years in Atlanta, Georgia.[13] Vitale was taught to play guitar by his father, and over the years gradually learned how to play several instruments.[14] He started writing raps in his notebook at 7 years old. He started making beats when he was 14 and was initially producing with his friend Bugus.[15][16] He recorded his first song at 18 years old and continued making beats and producing songs in the basement of Colm Dillane's KidSuper.[17][18][19]

Career[edit]

In 2011, Russ, alongside friend and fellow rapper Bugus, appeared on MTV after Bugus' song "El Jefe" gained traction.[15] After his short enrollment in Kennesaw State University, Russ co-founded his own collective and label, Diemon, with Bugus and others.[14] In a 2012 article on Jenesis Magazine, Russ was described as an in-house producer for Diemon.[20]

From December 2011 to August 2014, Russ released 11 albums and 87 singles consecutively; all free of charge.[1] Despite this, his music had not gained the attention that he wanted, so he began to release a song every week on SoundCloud for almost three years.[21] Two of these songs, "What They Want" and "Losin Control", eventually peaked at number 83 and number 62 on the US Billboard Hot 100, respectively.[22] [23][7]

After signing a partnership with Columbia Records, Russ released his twelfth studio album, There's Really a Wolf, on May 5, 2017; it debuted at number 7 on the US Billboard 200 and number four on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts.[24][25][26] On April 18, 2018, the album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for combined sales and album-equivalent units of over 1,000,000 units in the United States.[27] Prior to releasing his album, Russ announced on his Twitter account that he would be headlining his tour, The Wake Up Tour, from May 16 to August 5, 2017.[28]

Russ performing in 2017

Russ released his thirteenth studio album, Zoo, on September 7, 2018, which peaked at number 4 on the Billboard 200.[29] On November 12, 2019, Russ published his first book, It's All in Your Head.[30] On January 31, 2020, he released his fourteenth studio album, Shake the Snow Globe, on Russ My Way Inc. and Columbia Records.[31] It peaked at number 4 on the US Billboard 200.[32]

On June 30, 2020, Russ announced that he completed his deal with Columbia Records and is now an independent artist.[33] On November 17, 2020, he released an EP titled Chomp. It features guest appearances from Black Thought, Busta Rhymes, Benny the Butcher, and Ab-Soul, among others.[34]

On November 18, 2021, Russ announced a new EP, Chomp 2, as the sequel to last year’s Chomp. The project was released on December 8, 2021, under Russ My Way Inc.[citation needed]

Musical style and influences[edit]

Russ's early inspirations were G-Unit, 50 Cent, and Eminem.[18][35] He produced beats for around six years before he attempted to record himself rapping.[36] Russ is known for his songs being produced, mixed, mastered, engineered, written, and performed by himself.[37] Most of his songs contain hip hop and R&B elements, while combining rapping and singing on the hook. His style has been described by Uproxx as a "raspy, hardbody rap flow, and lilting, almost drunken singing voice".[38]

Controversy[edit]

On September 11, 2017, after a show, Russ tweeted a picture depicting him in a shirt with writing on it that said: "How much xans and lean do you have to do before you realize you're a fucking loser".[39] The tweet caused controversy, and led to numerous responses from other music artists. Late Chicago rapper Fredo Santana responded to the tweet, stating: "Until I can stop thinking bout my dead homies an the trauma I been thru in my life that's when I'll stop".[39]

Following the controversy, the phrase "fuck Russ" became a commonly referenced phrase and meme. On June 6, 2018, after rappers Lil Pump and J. Cole settled their issues in an interview, Lil Pump tweeted "ME & J COLE COOL NOW SO NOW ITS FUCK RUSS".[40]

Personal life[edit]

Russ has two different eye colors, a condition known as heterochromia; his left eye is dark brown, and his right is light brown.[18]

Discography[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Result
2017 Woodie Awards Woodie to Watch Nominated[42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Abubaker, Mustafa (June 20, 2016). "Do it everyday, music or nothing: ATL's Russ on his self-made success". Mass Appeal. Archived from the original on August 6, 2017. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  2. ^ "Try the TIDAL Web Player". listen.tidal.com.
  3. ^ "ACE Repertory". ascap.com. Archived from the original on February 6, 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  4. ^ "Russ Doesn't Hesitate to 'Pull the Trigger' in New Video – XXL". XXL Mag. July 18, 2016. Archived from the original on October 25, 2018. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  5. ^ "Certified Fresh: Meet Russ, Your Next Favorite Rapper". hiphopwired.com. April 20, 2016. Archived from the original on November 26, 2018. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  6. ^ "American single certifications – Russ -There's Really a Wolf". Recording Industry Association of America". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Russ Chart History: Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  8. ^ "Meet Russ the Up and Coming Atlanta Artist". teambackpack.net. Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved August 27, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  9. ^ "Do It Everyday, Music or Nothing: ATL's Russ on His Self-Made Success – Mass Appeal". June 20, 2016. Archived from the original on August 21, 2016. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  10. ^ "New Visuals For Russ's "Pull The Trigger"". Respect. July 29, 2016. Archived from the original on August 25, 2016. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  11. ^ "Russ Chart History". Billboard. Archived from the original on November 5, 2019. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  12. ^ "Everything You Need To Know About Russ". HotNewHipHop. February 22, 2017. Archived from the original on April 18, 2019. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  13. ^ RUSS in-depth interview w/ Bootleg Kev, August 19, 2016, retrieved May 9, 2017
  14. ^ a b "Russ | Biography & History". AllMusic. Archived from the original on April 16, 2019. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  15. ^ a b "Russ Opens His Old Basement Studio & Explains Independent Success". genius.com. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  16. ^ "Meet Russ: The Up-and-Coming Atlanta Artist". Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  17. ^ Trebay, Guy (April 28, 2021). "KidSuper Wants to Bring Back Warhol's Factory". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  18. ^ a b c "The Break Presents: Russ – XXL". XXL Mag. April 8, 2016. Archived from the original on August 15, 2016. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  19. ^ Garl, Maurice (April 20, 2016). "Certified Fresh: Meet Russ, Your Next Favorite Rapper". Hip-Hop Wired. Archived from the original on August 15, 2016. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  20. ^ Agnew, Thomas (May 8, 2012). "[Feature] Diemon: Diemon In The Rough". Jenesis Magazine. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  21. ^ Corry, Kristin (September 11, 2018). "So, Why Does Everyone Hate Russ?". Vice. Vice. Archived from the original on December 4, 2019. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  22. ^ "Russ – "What They Want" & "Let Me In"". Hillydilly.com. Archived from the original on August 15, 2016. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  23. ^ "Rising Rapper Russ on His '10-Year, 11-Album, 87-Song Overnight Success'". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 11, 2017. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  24. ^ Mendizabal, Amaya (May 18, 2017). "Russ' 'There's Really a Wolf' Debuts at No. 4 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 20, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
  25. ^ "Listen to Russ' New Album 'There's Really a Wolf' – XXL". XXL Mag. May 5, 2017. Archived from the original on May 8, 2017. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
  26. ^ "There's Really A Wolf". iTunes. May 5, 2017. Archived from the original on April 20, 2017. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  27. ^ "Gold & Platinum – RIAA". riaa.com. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  28. ^ "The Wake Up Tour". Twitter.com. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  29. ^ "Russ Chart History | Billboard". Billboard. November 5, 2019. Archived from the original on November 5, 2019.
  30. ^ Vitale, Russell (2019). It's All in Your Head: Get Out of Your Way. United States: HarperCollins Publishers. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-06-296243-0.
  31. ^ "Russ – 'Shake The Snow Globe' review". nme.com. February 3, 2020.
  32. ^ "Billboard 200 Top 20 | Official Charts Company". OfficialCharts.com. February 17, 2020. Archived from the original on February 17, 2020.
  33. ^ Grant, Shawn (July 2, 2020). "Russ Announces He is Now An Independent Artist". The Source. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  34. ^ Ivey, Justin (November 11, 2020). "Russ Recruits Black Thought, Benny The Butcher, Ab-Soul, Busta Rhymes & More For 'Chomp' EP". HipHopDX. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  35. ^ "Russ Biography". billboard.com. Archived from the original on November 12, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  36. ^ "RUSS in-depth interview w/ Bootleg Kev". YouTube. August 19, 2016. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  37. ^ "Rising Rapper Russ on His '10-Year, 11-Album, 87-Song Overnight Success'". Billboard. December 15, 2016. Archived from the original on December 16, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  38. ^ "Russ' 'There's Really A Wolf' Was The Best Rap Release Of The Weekend". UPROXX. May 8, 2017. Archived from the original on May 9, 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  39. ^ a b Berry, Peter A. (September 12, 2017). "Russ Causes Controversy With Anti-Drug Shirt". XXL. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  40. ^ Ivey, Justin (June 6, 2018). "J. Cole's New Homie Lil Pump Is Now Screaming "Fuck Russ"". HipHopDX. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  41. ^ "Russ - Chomp 2". Apple Music. December 8, 2021. Retrieved December 9, 2021.
  42. ^ "Winners & Nominees by Category – 2017 Woodies – MTV University". MTV. Archived from the original on May 6, 2017. Retrieved May 9, 2017.

External links[edit]