Rapper/producer Russ is best known for releasing commercially successful singles such as “Losin Control,” “Best on Earth,” and “Handsomer.” The Diemon collective member also made headlines for his controversial comments.
Back in January 2017, Russ blamed the current state of rap music on other producers “making wack s###.” Those remarks led to beatmakers like Metro Boomin, Frank Dukes, and Cardo Got Wings shooting back at the New Jersey-born entertainer on social media.
Russ also angered some fans and industry peers when he went on an anti-drug Twitter rant just days after Lil Peep (born Gustav Elijah Åhr) died from a drug overdose in November 2017. That caused bad blood with Lil Peep’s collaborator, Smokepurpp.
A new conversation with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 may shed some light on Russ’s state of mind around the time of his contentious quotes. The Santiago album creator revealed that alcohol consumption played a role in his actions during his career.
“I was drinking a lot, and it was just because when I first started making music, that’s what it was. The studio was a party. You’re smoking weed, you’re drinking. And so I would drink when I was in the studio. It just felt normal. It felt regular,” recalled Russ.
He continued, “But then I was drinking before interviews, and that’s how a lot of those interviews went left. I was pretty hammered in some of them. Because it’s all that’s coming out, but I never had a problem. I wasn’t waking up and like, ‘I need a drink.’ I would just drink in certain situations, but that in and of itself was an issue.”
“And it was easier to just do that than actually be authentic and be like, ‘You know what? I am nervous, I am feeling insecure, I am all these things.’ And now it’s, yeah. I’m not rigid to the point where it’s like, ‘I will not drink.’ It’s, ‘I’ll have a drink whenever I want to have a drink.’ It’s just now I don’t want to have a drink when I wanted to have a drink back then,” Russ explained to Zane Lowe.
Santiago by Russ came out today (August 18). The 13-track project, inspired by the book The Alchemist, follows more than a dozen previous studio LPs by the 30-year-old recording artist. He received a Platinum plaque from the RIAA for 2017’s There’s Really a Wolf. Plus, 2018’s Zoo and 2020’s Shake the Snow Globe went Gold.