This is Russ: Soundcloud sensation turned platinum producer who’s set on making a change in his community

South Africa keep an ear out because Russ is dropping in in a couple of weeks for sets at Rocking the Daisies and In The City, and you’ll want to catch a bit of this.

Having been active on the hip hop scene since 2007 Russel Vitale, straight out of Atlanta, USA, is a bit of a veteran despite his only recent mainstream success. This former Soundcloud sensation is now proudly flaunting the badge of platinum-selling artist after the burning success of his two tracks “What They Want” and “Losin’ Control”.

Small-town hotshot turned headliner (he nabbed a sweet slot at Coachella in 2018) Russ is no stranger to the ego-centric whirlpool of fame and fortune, a hot topic explored throughout his sophomore album ZOO.

There’s enough lyrical content in ZOO that deals with the classic tropes of money, fame and women, but I’ll let that slide ’cause he’s got his active priorities in the right place.

His new single, “Summer At 7”, sees his sound turn from the conventional hip hop of his debut releases, to a psych-esque retro navigation of love at 7pm on a summer’s day – and he’s prioritising social outreach impact in urban communities in the lead-up to his next release.

Working in partnership with his former High School to build their first ever music programme, Russ’ goal is to educate school-goers and equip them for potential careers in the music industry.

Now that’s a way to turn the lavish, cut-throat industry into something so much more.