Santiago, a collaborative album between Geman, singer songwriter, Bibi Bourelly, and artist, Russ | ALBUM REVIEW

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The Story Behind Russ and His New Album SANTIAGO

Rapper, songwriter, and record producer Russ has just released his latest album SANTIAGO, which displays his journey of self-love and self-mastery. The album also displays a variety of artwork that represents the story of his musical road to stardom.

Russ combined a blend of hip-hop, R&B, and rap in his new album. It’s a welcome change from the world of hard rap. He shows a unique vulnerability to his fans as he opens up about feelings of being alone and inadequate, imposter syndrome, and anger and how these are carried into his adult life.

The album is a true testament to his dedication to music. Several songs on the album, including “Tunnel Vision” and “Distracted,” were collaborations with Bibi Bourelly, who has co-written songs for Rihanna, Demi Lovato, and Nick Brewer. Dr. Dre gave the album his stamp of approval, which means if you’re looking for a new album, this one is a sure winner.

Who Is Russ?

Russell James Vitale, today known as just Russ, was born in Secaucus, NJ in September 1992. Growing up, he learned to play the guitar and several other instruments. He started writing raps at the tender age of 7 and making beats at 14.

Russ recorded his first song at the age of 18. He often worked to produce music with his friend Bugus.

In 2011, the two friends appeared on MTV together, and shortly after that, they co-founded DIEMON, Russ’ own collective and label. In the next few years, Russ released 11 albums and 87 singles. He released a song on SoundCloud every week for almost three years until he started to gain traction in the music industry.

This worked, as the songs “What They Want” and “Losin’ Control” both broke the top 100 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. In 2017, Columbia Records signed Russ and he released his twelfth album, There’s Really a Wolf. It debuted on the Billboard 200 at No. 7 and on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart at No. 4. In 2018, it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Russ released two more albums with Columbia Records, Zoo and Shake the Snow Globe. Once his deal with the record label was completed, he returned to being an independent artist and released the albums Chomp and Chomp 2 under his label Russ My Way Inc.

He’s best known for writing, producing, mixing, mastering, and engineering his own music, which gives him complete control over the artistic process. However,  Russ gives huge homage to world renowned producer Scott Storch.  One of the Only Producers Russ has released material with.  Working with producers as Timbaland, has yet to be released.

His style was once described by Uproxx as “raspy, hardbody rap flow, and lilting, almost drunken singing voice.”

Who Is Bibi Bourelly?

The German singer/songwriter has several notable credits to her name. She co-wrote “Bitch Better Have My Money” by Rihanna, “Camouflage” by Selena Gomez,  “Anyone” by Demi Lovato, and “Talk to Me” by Nick Brewer. She has released several singles on her own in 2015 and has also been featured on tracks with Lil Wayne and Usher.

Bibi’s singles include “Riot” and “Ego,” the latter of which peaked at No. 2 in the US. Her third single, “Sally”, was released in 2016 with an interactive video. Bibi has toured with HAIM and Rihanna. She has also toured North America solo on her Free the Real tour and has appeared on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. In 2022, she released “Solèy,” her first single as an independent artist.

The collaboration between Russ and BIbi has proven to be the perfect blend of hip hop, rap, and R&B, perfectly fitting the album SANTIAGO. The two independent artists have nailed it with this album.

BiBi Bourelly

Where to find Russ

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