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WPGM Recommends: Russ – If Not Now, When? (EP Review)

American artist Russell James Vitale or shall we say Russ Diemon or simply just Russ, whatever you choose, this versatile multi-talented man is a rapper, singer, songwriter and producer from Atlanta, Georgia.

Many of you may recognise the name from his hit songs, “Losing Control” and “Handsomer”, which has been blowing up Tik Tok over the last couple months of 2022. With its open verse challenge and bringing KTLYN’s raps into the limelight with her hook saw fans going crazy. She has now officially become the second artist signed to Russ record label, Diemon, and travelling along with him on his much anticipated, The Journey Is Everything, tour.

With a staggering fifteen albums to his name and three extended plays, Russ never seems to disappoint. This is proof in his third EP, which was independently released on the 26th of April, 2022, If Not Now, When? If this isn’t impressive enough, Russ headlined the Los Angeles iconic Hollywood Bowl on the 5th of May, making it one of the biggest live performances of his career so far.

The man oozes confidence and is truly the definition of manifestation, which is evident throughout his music career. His new EP really shows his lyrical talent, and that he is far from a commercial rapper. What you see is truly what you get.

“Star”, the opening track may only be a short one, but it’s enough to get the message across that Russ is indeed “a star now”. These lyrics may seem boastful and overly confident but in my opinion really just prove that success can be achieved if you truly work hard and put your mind to it. My favourite line has to be, “aren’t you tired of hatin’ yet? Oh you mad ‘cuz you aint make it” I mean, enough said.

“Back From London Freestyle” is really personal and shows you that just like all of us, Russ has had his own share of downs as much as his ups. The line “ya’ll didn’t make me so you wanna break me” really just proves that he has made his own success and we are proud of him for that. This song is really just an amazing example of his lyricism talent and the independence we all know him for.

“Waves”, really is a self-reflection song and we really got to see a softer side to Russ with this one. The song is about having confidence and self-belief in yourself but some days as we all know we just feel down and out. “It’s just waves and I know one day it won’t be like this” has to be my favourite line from this whole EP because even on the days we feel down and as if nothing is ever going right, we need to remember it won’t always be that way.

Russ is telling us it’s completely okay to question everything but not to forget that it won’t be like this forever. A line I think everyone needs to hear is, “I need you to be you for all these people to see you”, and because being unapologetically yourself is all we need.

The final track and my personal favourite, “Never Again”, co-produced with Alexandra Lawton and UKNW, is really a song to remind you that you must never settle for “lack of understanding and communication” within a relationship. This track is vulnerability at its best. “Can’t do it anymore, I gotta choose me”, amen to that Russ!

In case you didn’t know, Diemon, is actually an acronym for, ‘Do It Every day, Music Or Nothing’. That’s why we love Russ because music is and always will be within him. Having worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us next.

Listen to Russ’ If Not Now, When? EP below and stream it elsewhere here.

Words by Abigale Du Plessis

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