Zoo review

Derrick Voss, A&E Writer

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One of today’s most popular rappers seems to be one of the most hated. When it comes to veteran hip-hop artist Russ, people usually either hate him or adore him. From what I have noticed, it appears that females are more in support of him than males. That is most likely due to a major flaw in his character: the need to critique the lifestyles of other rappers and hip-hop artists. This is widely disliked by many prominent figures in the hip-hop community.

Russ’s character makes some view him as a good role-model, but he often comes across as disrespectful and at some points hypocritical.However, I’ll put my opinions on his character aside and focus on his 13th studio album Zoo, where he often confronts his criticism.

This album is a follow-up to his certified platinum and widely popular album There’s Really a Wolf. One thing I noticed about this album is it is definitely a Russ project. This means Russ does not do anything I would not expect him to do, which is not a bad thing because Russ is an extremely versatile artist. When it comes to singing and rapping, he incorporates a wide variety of styles. In pretty much every track on Zoo, he either changes his flow or transitions into a hook flawlessly, and I find it quite impressive. This album includes elements of R&B, old-school rap, and modern lyrical rap over his own well-made beats.

I might as well mention his albums are 100 percent mixed and edited solely by himself and include a minimal amount of features (There’s Really a Wolf had no features). For even celebrated artists, making a successful album with no or even a few features is an impressive feat.

High points for me on the album were “The Flute Song,” “Outlaw” and “Serious.”

With all of that said, this album still lacks a sense of originality and I could confuse most of these new tracks with his previous album’s tracks, especially with There’s Really a Wolf. In a sense, Zoo could almost be seen as a forgettable album for him. He tries to give off an indifferent vibe, but that often comes across as simply arrogant and annoying.

No. Will it appeal to most hip-hop fans? Probably. Is it enjoyable to listen to? I have to say yes. 7/10.


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Zoo review