The Album No One is Talking About
Updated: Jan 6
2021 has been quite the year for music. Ye gave us Donda, Drake gave us Certified Lover Boy and J. Cole gave us the much-awaited The Off-Season. As the more established and mainstream artists consume the attention of hip hop fans; other artists and projects become overlooked. The overlooked album and artist in this case is Chomp 2, by Russ.
A lot of people are unaware of Russ' existence. You can point towards the fact that he is an independent artist. Without the help of any major labels backing him, Russ' work isn’t pushed in the mainstream media as much.
Listen to Chomp 2, and it's clear that Russ is a rapper. Look at the tracklist and you‘ll see heavy hitters featured all over the album. Legends such as Jadakiss, Snoop Dogg, Styles P, Ghostface Killah, and Lloyd Banks give the album a nostalgic hip-hop feel.
Production from legends like Dj Premier, Statik Selectah, Hit-boy, and Alchemist only add to that feeling of nostalgia. Alongside this legendary lineup, Russ made sure to reach out to peers such as Joey Bada$$, Conway the Machine, Wale, and Big Sean. The combination of all this hip-hop talent created a mix of the old school meeting the current day.
Chomp 2 lived up to expectations if you ask me. The lyricism and substance throughout the album put the project on another level. From the first track "Sheep" the vibe is already obvious. Russ is talking about his life, a life that doesn't involve crime or any gunplay. It's more braggadocios and critical of the current climate of the culture. Russ keeps a consistent theme of self-improvement and independence all throughout the album lays that foundation through this track.
"Y'all not my contemporaries, Y'all are temporary; Cause the music ain't even secondary, Y'all put the money and the bitches over it ; So you fell off now the bitches over it, it's over with" - Sheep
The most surprising thing about this album is Russ' ability to keep up with the people he featured throughout. Everyone is aware of the lyrical talent that the likes of Jadakiss, Ghostface Killah, and Lloyd Banks possess. Goes without saying that they are legends in the rap game. Not only was Russ able to get these features, but he was also able to hold his own. Examples of these moments occur on the tracks "Blue Chip" where Russ sets the tone with a myriad of punchlines and bars that make you think. His verse is flooded with cultural references and sports references both new and old.
"Fuck a blue check, I'm a blue chip, reliable stock. I reached the end of my rope and I started tying the knot. And held on, Delle Donne, my game's ill. Lime with the tequila or the heat to this J Will. Make skills appear like magic, pass it. Always been a king, I'ma share it if I have it" - Blue Chip
Aside from just recording verses, Russ showcased his talent as a producer and beat-maker. Russ has stuck with the same formula throughout the 17 or so projects he has released over the years. The absence of industry push has turned him into a jack of all trades when it comes to creating music. Taking a page out of J Cole's and Ye's book, Russ has established himself as a very capable and talented producer.
Similar to how Russ was able to stand out as a rapper amongst some of the genre's greats, his production on Chomp 2 wasn't too shabby. Out of the 14 tracks on the project, Russ produced "Bucket Hat Low" and "Faith" (a personal favorite).
Chomp 2 is one of the best albums released in 2021. The quality of the music is up there with whatever is considered to be the best of that year. Lyrically, Russ puts on a showcase alongside the legendary features he gave us on the album. The production doesn't disappoint in the slightest. The combination of these two things makes Chomp 2 one of the top albums to be released in 2021 no questions asked.
Just think about it. To have this many legends on one album must mean something. There is a mutual respect that the likes of Jadakiss, Ghostface Killah, Snoop Dogg, and Styles P must-have for Russ as a rapper. The same can be said for the legendary producers on the project such as Dj Premier, Alchemist, Hit-boy, and Statik Selectah. If this much talent comes together you can only expect a piece of work equally impressive.
If you're a fan of lyrical hip hop and old school hip hop, you should tune in. Listen to one of my favorite tracks as a glimpse of what to expect from Russ on this album.