Russ' second Columbia Records studio album ZOO was released yesterday. It was a follow up to the album There's Really a Wolf released in 2017. Russ is known for his "me against the world" attitude and boastful tone, which is shown in almost every step or move he takes. He created an album that remains to form but also takes a softer more introspective side of himself and his music as the album progresses.
Section 1, Songs 1-3
Throughout this section of the album from the first song, "The Flute" to the third, "Kill Them All" Russ remains that boastful “loudmouth” we all love. The first song has high bass but songs two and three have toned down bass and exchange this for a more snare heavy sound. Bars like…
[Verse 1](Lines 6-9)
I wonder why these fuckin' grown men always talkin' like bitches
Y'all so obsessed with me, I've never even talked to you bitches
I'd run you over with my Lambo, wouldn't stop for you bitches
[Verse 3](Lines 15-17)
Flashin' jewelry, posting lean, poppin' Xanax for clicks
Infatuated with designer, costume shop carollers
Bunch of crackheads and clowns
... show us that Russ is still has a "fuck the world and artists around me" attitude at the end of the day.
Section 2, Songs 4-7
Throughout this section of the album, Russ took a much more introspective approach, talking about past experiences and past pain in order to switch our perspectives. The song "Parkstone Drive" seems to rationalize his “fuck everybody” attitude. It talks about his family problems and how his pride was pretty much necessary in order to keep his head up throughout this dark process, and that's why he acts and responds the way he does.
He also talks about how the negative forces to try to cripple him.
Section 3, Songs 8-13
This section of the album is mainly R&B music along with a radio song "Last Forever," featuring Rick Ross and Snoop Dogg. These songs seem much more surface level and less emotionally fueled than the earlier tracks. It speaks on his come ups and past relationships with people in his life. All of these songs are ok, but in my opinion aren't 100 percent necessary in order to make this album a completed thought. This section of the album seems like an adjunct, just an unnecessary verbiage of content. If this album was marketed more like Drake's album, it would’ve been much more cohesive. But the shining lights in this section of the album are definitely "From a Distance" and "Last Forever."
Section 4, Wrap-up Song 14
This final song is a good culminatory end to the album. It has factors of R&B, introspective bars, and this me against the world attitude. It just seems like Russ as a person is torn. He addresses all artists, commenters, and bloggers who throw any shots, intentional or subliminal, with the chorus.
Stop playin' with me, playin' with me
Somebody gon' end up hurt
Stop playin' with me, playin' with me
I promise I see every word
Russ as a person is very confusing. He constantly contradicts himself. He talks about how other rappers are lame or should be looked down upon because they flex their cars or clothes, or do drugs. But he does the same things in a more toned down manner. He looks down on people that do specific drugs, but who is he to judge? He constantly talks about how people are much lower than him on the totem pole, but he tries to preach positivity and positive universal principles. He sometimes tries to speak out as a spiritual person but his values always seem to lie with physical objects and things.
The album as a whole was a good listen, but it didn’t seem to have the clearest direction. I saw parts of the album where Russ was at his full potential and other parts where he seemed to sit lackluster over the beat. The album was a short dive into his inner being, but we could’ve seen more. In my opinion, I think the album deserves a 6/10.