Just hours before the release of Atlanta rapper Russ’s sophomore album “ZOO,” Russ shared an image on Twitter of a note he had handwritten thanking fans for their love and support with the caption “Thank you….ZOO AT MIDNIGHT,” sending Twitter into a frenzy. The fourteen track released on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 came with high expectations from fans, as did its predecessor “There’s Really A Wolf” which peaked in the Top Ten of the Billboard 200 Chart last May.
In a radio interview with Beats 1, Russ shared insight into his new project: “This album, as far as like a theme and a mood, it’s really more personal than I’ve ever gone. I really dug deep. It’s really reflective of everything right now.”
The entire album is very lyrically expressive, highlighting the highs and lows the rapper has been going through. “It’s really telling of what it’s like to be famous. It’s not all glamour and a lot of it is really stressful and really high paranoia at times,” the rapper said.
The first track off the album, “The Flute Song,” was the first and only single released off the project. The song focuses on the negative attention the rapper gets at times, saying, “They talkin’ reckless, I don’t believe ‘em, I think they’re bluffin’/They just want clout, I’m just so poppin’.”
Russ makes it strikingly clear to his haters that he is doing just fine on diss tracks like “Kill Them All,” “F**k That” and “Outlaw” as well.
Fans are already going crazy over the swooning beat in “Missin You Crazy,” which keeps the same signature style Russ fans know and love. The track almost seems like the sequel to “Cherry Hill,” a hit off of his first release in 2017.
“Fans resonate with personal material, and that is exactly what Russ produced”
He then goes really in-depth on the struggles of living in the spotlight on tracks like “Parkstone Drive,” “Keep My Wits” and “Voicemail,” shining the light on the overall theme of the album. Fans will definitely be able to appreciate just how personal the album gets. The rapper even has a track on the album called “Serious,” assumed to be directed at a new flame. The song explains just how “Serious” his feelings are with lyrics like, “Evolving daily please don’t judge me off a song ago” and “You ain’t gotta tell me what I gotta do to prove it to you”.
Russ also has three features on the album, two being powerhouses within the rap community. Rick Ross and Snoop Dogg are both on the track “Last Forever,” where Russ talks about how he hopes his rap career will have lasting power in an ever-changing industry.
He then has U.K. singer Mahalia appear on “Keep It Pushin,” which leans to the more R&B side of rap.
Fans resonate with personal material, and that is exactly what Russ produced. Although he is not at the forefront of the rap industry it is definitely possible for him to get there, if he continues producing lyrically strong content like “ZOO.”
Hunter Trzeciak is a first-year student majoring in cellular & molecular biology. ✉ HT906411@wcupa.edu.