Six years since his emergence, South London’s Russ Millions delivers his debut mixtape to make a case for being more than a singles artist.
Russ’ debut mixtape comes after a string of successful singles, including “Body”, the first number one UK drill song. One of a Kind is no introduction to Russ Millions, but rather a continuation of the chapter we’re accustomed to. His knack for drill hits is present across the seventeen tracks, following his familiar formula of bite-sized energy, which comes with thumping production and zig-zag flows. The project at its best in cuts like “6AM” and “Pisces”, with the latter including features from Krept & Konan to offer a different dimension to the beat.
Russ’ reach at this stage of his career is clear from the rest of the tape features. It stretches over the rest of Europe and across the Atlantic, offering a challenge to artists who aren’t accustomed to rapping over pacey UK drill beats. French Montana and DreamDoll show up on “Habibti”, although their welcome isn’t met with memorable results. Same can be said for Russ’ goodwill nature of featuring his friends on posse cuts like “Salute”. The best performances come from Russ himself and Krept & Konan on “Pisces”, and “Shawty” with Ms Banks, Ivorian Doll and TeeZandos, all three offering variation as an all-female lineup.
One of a Kind is aware of its intentions. It knows what it wants to be, offering exactly what’s on the tin. But the next question is how much Russ can maintain this approach. There are few moments that show promise for the next chess move, whether that’s in terms of production style or subject matter. Fortunately, Russ still has hits in the tank to keep him floating for the moment. He is a leading figure in monthly listeners for a UK rapper, and that is a testament to his ability to create simple yet sticky hooks. Though this is something to revisit as his career continues to chase the peaks already achieved.
After six years of releasing track after track, One of a Kind was a long overdue demonstration of how his formula will fare over a full-length effort. Plenty moments do show why the approach is so successful, but ultimately the shelf life of One of a Kind is more than questionable.
5 / 10
Best tracks: “Pisces”, “6:30”