“I’m not here to put people in their feelings, I’m here to make you dance,” Russ Millions recently told NME. This is a constant throughout the rapper’s career, creating viral hits in the form of ‘Gun Lean’ and the iconic Tion Wayne collaboration ‘Body’. Whenever you hear Russ hit a track, it’s almost a guarantee that a movement-inducing barrage of modern-day drill is on its way.
As you probably know, the sound originally began gaining traction over a decade ago in Chicago, with many deeming rapper Chief Keef as the proverbial propeller. Chicago drill was slow and brooding, morphing influences of mid-2000s Atlanta trap and 90s Memphis horrorcore to create a menacing atmosphere rich with rattling hi-hats, eerie synths, and bellowing 808s. This style was used as a base for expression, where young artists would tell tales of the adversity they faced throughout their lives. G.Herbo, a pioneer from those early days, stated in an interview with DJBooth that “We didn’t even understand what we were creating. We were just speaking our truth”.
Russ Millions, even with drill’s global presence in 2023, still exists as an outlier. He brings his own perspective to the subgenre’s vulnerability, often hearkening back to his upbringing in Lewisham. The rapid-fire frenzies of the UK’s drill interpretation ring loud throughout his music, but he adds his own flair via his Jamaican heritage and a life-long love of reggae and dancehall music. This polymerisation supports his constant goal to make you gyrate and makes the name of his debut mixtape One Of A Kind all the more fitting.
The prime form of Russ Millions is noticeable as soon as you press play on One Of A Kind, and you delve into the project’s opener ‘6am in Duabi’. Boastful lyrics soar over percussion-loaded production, with sub-bass storming through the mix with every hit. It sets the tone for the 16 tracks to follow, which form a buffet built for club DJ mixes. Even tracks like ‘Fall in Love’, which are revealing in lyrical content, are still contrasted by loud, ambitious instrumentals designed for your two-step. This formula Russ has created can be partly attributed to his love for Bogle, a Jamaican choreographer and dancehall legend. Channelling that influence, Russ Millions uses his artistry to get you moving, even when times are hard.
The assortment of guests Russ Millions’ taps for One Of A Kind showcases his skills as a curator via his selection of guests for every banger. The roster is stacked, with artists like French Montana, DreamDoll, Krept & Konan, and loads more appearing alongside Russ, who still manages to shine in the crowd with his unmistakable cadence. A highlight in these collaborations is ‘Shawty’, a party song that stands out thanks to contributions from Ms Banks, Ivorian Doll, and TeeZandos. Speaking to Rolling Stone UK about this track, Russ acknowledges his intentions of showcasing some of the scene’s female talent, stating “I just wanted to do something that featured some of the women in my genre.” The diverse list of acts that take to the mic on this mixtape spotlight Russ Million’s genuine intentions of making sure everyone has a good time.
Despite Russ Millions’ being a staple in the UK’s drill scene, One Of A Kind exists as an introduction to his blossoming journey. He solidifies himself as a bohemian in the world of drill, where he sticks to the subgenre’s concepts of raw expression and heavy production, but separates himself with his dancehall-inspired approach to creating movement-inducing art. He showcases his skills beyond rapping, orchestrating a feature list of a-listers to contribute to his club-destined vision. As the conversation switches to what lies in the Lewisham artist’s future, it’s best to turn to a lyric ‘6:30’, where he sternly states “‘Platinum plaques, but I still want more.” Russ Million continues to serve as a soothsayer for his own success, and he’s doing it with stylish tunes designed to make you traverse to the dancefloor.
Follow Russ Millions here for more and stream the new mixtape One Of A Kind here.