We all know that the #RTD2019 & In The City experiences are knocking on the door and artists such as Nasty C, Giggs, Russ, Cassper Nyovest, IAMDDB, Earth Gang, Smino, Shekhinah and Sho Madjozi will be jumping on stage to give people what they want, a good *ss time! With that lame intro said, HYPE got the opportunity to interview hip hop sensation Russ who will be of course flying down to SA to do what he does best. Last year the New Jersey born rapper/singer/producer released his 2nd studio album called ZOO which really came after he had already positioned himself at the frontline of hip hop through his previous releases such as There Really Is A Wold (1st studio album) and 11 other projects such as Velvet, 5280, Brain Dea & so many more that have each contributed to the high level of success that he has attained today. And the fact that Russ will be jumping the Daisies & In The City stages is quite crazy especially if you’ve been a fan because to say that he is one of the most talented hip hop artists’ in the game right now even sounds like an understatement. So with the few minutes I had, I asked about his sound, his defining moment, African collaborations and more.
I think first of all let me start this out by asking this; how do you feel when you look back on how far you have come, from where you started off, to where you are right now because it’s crazy?
Yeah well it feels like I just started, it feels like it’s just yesterday but what’s interesting about the whole thing is that how I’m still not where I want to be but I’m way closer to where I want to be. Because looking back man… I’ve come such a long way and like where I’m trying to get to is way closer!
Most of the time I always ask artists about that “defining moment” so let’s talk about your defining moment that convinced you that you were made to do music because usually it all starts as hobby right?
Well you right music started out as a hobby as well, but I was still like trying to push this music thing seriously because music is like a drug that was inside of me and it got to a point where I couldn’t ignore it anymore and it sort of kind of took over. So, it led me to paying way more attention to this burning desire that I have inside of me. It was a gradual build up for me.
So, Russ then how would you define your sound? Because you rap, sing and pretty much do everything… So how would you go on to explain it to someone that comes across your music for the first time?
[Laughs] I wouldn’t just because it’s like I feel like everyone should be able to interpret it for themselves. Instead of having me to explain it…
Word… The people are pretty excited that you are coming down to South Africa for Rocking The Daisies and In The City. What really convinced you to come down here and is it going to be your first time here in South Africa?
Yeah, I mean so like a lot of people have been following my story, so they know that I’m very interactive with my fans and I know about my fanbase in South Africa. And I personally always wanted to come to South Africa, and I guess it’s the right time…
And how does discovering that you have a huge fanbase down here in South Africa and the fact that your music has reached so far in the African continent make you feel. Did you ever project yourself as becoming this huge?
Yeah, I mean I’ve always been one of those people that knew I was going be this big, like Stephen Curry goes in the Gym so that he can score the 40 points in a game. You know what I’m saying? So, I don’t think Stephen Curry gets surprised when he scores 40 points in a game because that’s what he was practicing for. So, it’s like me… why do you think I was in the studio this whole time!? To be where I’m at right now… You know what I’m saying? I’m not going to say it was not expected but it’s still surreal and I’m grateful.
Damn… For someone like me that hasn’t witnessed your performance on stage live, could you sort of hint what people can expect or experience when you on that RTD (Rocking The Daisies/In The City stage?
It’s important to me that the performance sounds amazing because I hate it when you hear me screaming or singing the lyrics over the melodies. My first priority on stage is that it sounds pretty dope. And I want the people of South Africa to know that I don’t scream over my lyrics.
And in terms of collaborations have you been exposed to more African music because we know you have that song with Davido (All I Want), so I would like to know if there are any other African artists you have been following or maybe just witnessed or heard about or maybe even have hopes of working with in the near future at some stage?
Well Burna Boy is really crazy… He is really hard. I love the whole Afro-beats sound, because I kind of grew up with Nigerians so I’ve been around that culture for a while now.
So, what else is Russ working on? Is there a third album that you’re working on that you could maybe just tease to entice our excitement a bit? Because your fans are always hungry to hear new music from you…
Yeah, I’ve been making a bunch of music and I’ve definitely been working on a third album I’m about to start putting out music again pretty soon.