Russ shakes up the hip-hop scene with new album

Isabelle Rayburn

Reaching over 14 million listeners on Spotify, Russ has become a well-known artist in the hip-hop scene. The Atlanta-based rapper kicked off 2020 by releasing his new album that provides more insights on his life, “SHAKE THE SNOW GLOBE,” on Jan. 31.

Also known as Russel Vitale, the musician signed with Columbia Records in 2017, where he released his major-label debut “There’s Really a Wolf.” This album, which became his first certified platinum, established Russ as a force to be reckoned with in the industry.


“SHAKE THE SNOW GLOBE” is 12 tracks long, with two bonus tracks and features from artists such as Rick Ross and BIA.

Russ starts off the album with a narrative of him starting at the bottom and bringing himself up to the top. In the song “NEED A MINUTE,” he sings “I used to catch trains, now it’s planes flyin’.” This is a trend in many of his songs, which can also be seen throughout his previous discography.

As the album goes on, we hear more about his accomplishments. He sings about his cars, his pool and other materialistic possessions. In the song “GUESS WHAT (feat. Rick Ross),” Russ says “Guess what? I just put my logo in my pool/ Guess what? I just made a porno in the booth.” The song continues with more of this bragging about how his newfound fame is treating him.

In the song “*SSHOLE” (feat. Bugus),” Russ addresses some negative public reception, especially regarding his lax views on drug abuse. He responds to this by rapping “People tell me I’m an *sshole/ Tell me something that I don’t know,” making it clear that he has no intention of addressing these concerns seriously.

The more relatable love songs start to come up toward the end of the album. In the track “ALL TO YOU (feat. Kiana Ledé),” the lyrics, “I swear that I wanted you for all of my life, yeah/ I gave my all to you,” are something that people in a relationship would experience. There are some love songs where he is rapping and some where he is singing, providing a nice bridge between the hip-hop and pop genres.

Russ notes that his mother has also been a large part of his inspiration and writing process. He dedicates the song “MOMMA” to her, singing “You ain’t gotta cry no more, mama/ I did it/ And we don’t gotta chase our dream no more,/ mama.”

These lyrics offset the brash selfishness he showed in the first half of the album. The care of his mother and his attention to trying to bring her up with him as he rises adds a new dimension to the artist.

Overall, this album sounded like a lot of his old music, continuing to brag about his accomplishments like in his 2017 album “There’s Really a Wolf.” The love songs gave it a unique touch, providing different scenarios from his past albums that appeal to more people. 

Rating: 6.5/10

Best Songs: “Nighttime (Interlude),” “Best on earth (ft BIA),” “All to you (ft. Kiana Lede),” “Momma,” “Can’t go on,” “Need a minute,” “I Thought You Got Me”

Worst Songs: “Guess what (ft. Rick Ross),” “A lot more,” “A*****E.,” “Shots,” “Patience,” “Foot On The Gas,” “Civil War”

Isabelle Rayburn can be reached at or on Twitter @IsabelleRayburn.