In a new interview with Ebro Darden on Beats1, the New Jersey native toyed with the idea of showing his range by following up the rap EP with an R&B-based effort that features Keyshia Cole, Kehlani and Ari Lennox.
“I might have to come with five songs and it’s me and Keyshia Cole, and Kehlani, and Ari Lennox, and there’s not an ounce of rap on it,” Russ told Ebro. “And you put that right next to CHOMP and it’s like, enjoy.”
CHOMP was Russ’ first independent release following his departure from Columbia Records. The five-track effort had a heavy focus on bars and featured appearances from KXNG Crooked, Ab-Soul, Busta Rhymes, Benny The Butcher and Black Thought, with production from the likes of legendary Hip Hop producers DJ Premier, The Alchemist and 9th Wonder. In his convo with Ebro, Russ explained why he wanted to make such a particular project.
“I’ve never done a project like this,” he said. “The fans that know the real depth of my catalogue know I have stuff like this all over. But I knew that one song doesn’t really do it. When you do it five songs in a row it’s like, alright, I got it. … I wanted to rap with the best. It’s like when you’re younger playing basketball and you’re trying to play with the older kids. I was trying to play up.”
Watch the full interview below.