This album was released on July 17th this year. If you’re familiar with Sean Price or the rest of Duck Down Records, you’re surely aware of Ruste Juxx. If we’re excluding members of the Boot Camp Clik, Ruste Juxx has always been my favorite MC on the label. He’s got a great voice for rapping, a nice flow, and a ton of hard lines. I’ve always wondered why I don’t see more bloggers writing about his work. I guess I’m not really in the position to be asking that question when I haven’t covered any of his albums, although to be fair I have written about him in my Best Singles of the Week posts before. Anyway, he’s put out a ton of work over the past couple years. He dropped 3 albums last year with ILL, Tone Spliff, and BigBob, respectively. All of them were dope, but my favorite was Magma, which was the Tone Spliff collab. He also dropped an album called Sulfuric Acid back in January, which was very good. Check all those albums out if you haven’t yet. Anyway, I’d never heard of Amadeus 360 the Beat King before this project dropped, so I’m kinda going into it blind. If the beats end up being wack, I can at least rest assured that Ruste Juxx’s rhymes will be on point.
The album begins with a tribute to the late great Sean Price entitled Sean vsoP.
Right off the bat, I was actually really impressed by Amadeus’ production here. The way he included so many different samples was really cool. It’s a very interesting beat. There are a lot of really strange sounds that pop in and out, and it makes it one of the most unique jazzy Boom Bap beats I’ve heard in a while. The opening verse from Ruste Juxx is great, and the featured verse from Rock is fantastic. I guess it would’ve been kinda strange to not get Rock on a song tributing Sean Price. I think it’s a really wholesome track too. They definitely did him right with this one. He was probably looking down nodding his head to this while they recorded it.
Them was some of the best of my years
Now my hand in the air at your mural sheddin' a tear
Celebratin' your greatness, my nigga Sean lives on
You thinkin' I wasn't gonna flood with you bars? Bitch, WRONG
The content is kinda sad, but the song feels more like a celebration of Sean’s life than a sad track in which they’re mourning. I really fuck with it. It’s a dope song. The following track is called Rap 4 Real, and on my first listen it really caught me by surprise.
The preceding song is very jazzy and smooth, so I was caught off guard by how hard and grimy the beat on this one is. This shit is hard as bricks. I love how aggressive Ruste Juxx’s performance over it is too. He’s the kinda rapper who sounds dope no matter what he says. He could say the wackest shit ever written, but his voice and delivery are so good that it’d sound great. He’s thankfully a very talented lyricist though, so that isn’t an issue. This track in particular contains a fuck ton of allusions to classic Hip Hop artists, albums, and songs.
Criminal Minded changed my whole philosophy
Top billin', killin' at a higher velocity
Ultramag' had me ego trippin'
The big homies, pigs tried to put 'em below prison
Headed for self destruction, like you gots to chill
Steppin' on my adidas will get you shot for real
They got raw with Kane and set it off
Jammin' on the one with a gun, and let it off
He killed this track. That excerpt alone has a ton of references to artists like Run DMC & Audio Two, among others. The whole track is stuffed with bars like that. I like this one even more than the opening song. It’s really dope. It’s followed by a highlight for me entitled Go Krazy. This track has an incredibly smooth, jazzy, piano-driven instrumental. It sounds like some live music that a pianist would be playing in a super bougie restaurant. It has a nice ODB sample on the hook too. There are actually a lot of Wu-Tang samples on this album, which was cool. Ruste Juxx already killed the first couple of songs, but I think he stepped it up even further for this one. He had a line about slicing somebody’s face with the same razor that was used to cut crack. Man, I wish y’all could’ve seen my face when I caught that line.
I bully the beat for lunch money
And crush competition for playin' the punch dummy
Banged up, speed knots and jaw crackage
I slang these like keys, a raw package
Drama slayers, beats by Amadeus
Hollow tips that rip through armored layers
This joint is hard as fuck. I love it. It’s dope as hell. The following track is called Let the Machine Off, and it has a relatively hard hitting instrumental, along with some nice LOX and Nas samples on the hook. Once again, Ruste Juxx’s bars are super hard here.
Poisonous poetry, it's perpetual
Passionate punchlines, I'm professional
Stage show stamina is 9 on the Richter
And holier than any line in the scripture
The song’s got a pretty straightforward structure. It’s just a ton of aggressive bars over a hard Boom Bap instrumental. I have no issues with it at all. It’s a dope track. It’s followed by Yeah I Said It, which is a major highlight in my opinion. It’s one of my favorites on the album. This track is amazing. The beat here is fucking phenomenal. I love how evil, yet animated it sounds. The opening guest verse from Skanks the Rap Martyr is glorious too. That guy appears on a lot of Ruste Juxx albums, and he always murders his verses, so maybe I should look into more of his work. I really fuck with that dude. His voice kinda reminds me of Ras Kass a little bit, and his flow also made me think of Chino XL.
I kill roaches with Raid and kill haters by getting paid
They can't admit I spit some of the sickest shit ever made
It's Skanks, I been bodyin' grown men since the 7th grade
Shit, I been gettin' paid to rock shows before I was gettin' laid
I was already thoroughly impressed by Skanks’ performance, but then Ruste Juxx came through and absolutely slaughtered this shit.
I hate you white bastards, I hate white keys on the piano
We can let it pop from the pistol or let these hands go
I keep unlimited stock of lyrical ammo
Ruste jammin' like Gus Cannon on the banjo
Or Bootsie Collins on the bass
Guitar how I split scars on your face
No trace, no bricks on the weapon
Every session is apocalypse slash armageddon
The content of his verse kinda took me back to that Culturally Rich album he dropped last year, which was really dope. I think this song is amazing. I love both of the verses, and the beat is crazy. This shit is dope af. It’s immediately followed up by yet another major highlight called Poetry’s Deep. This track has a much more sentimental atmosphere. I love the melodic, kinda somber production here. As the title kinda indicates, it features a vocal sample from Nas on the hook, which is pretty dope. Lyrically, Ruste Juxx uses this track to go in about his affinity for rapping, and it’s really well done.
All this pain I'm pennin', I was trained for the winnin'
With the fam 'cause we came from the same beginnin'
In the hallway, bangin' them beats off the wall
Freestyle, killin' MCs small or tall
By any means, many pen and pad in my jeans
Like a .22 shootin' big glock magazines
Once again, the structure is very straightforward. There’s not a single aspect of this song that I don’t like though. I think the production is fantastic, and Ruste killed this shit. The song is dope af. It’s followed by the title track, which is yet another highlight. I really like how relatively stripped back the instrumental is here. There’s a lot of room for the percussion to breathe, which I appreciate. As the title, James Brown of tha Underground, kind of indicates, Ruste uses this song to boast about his accomplishments in the underground Hip Hop scene.
In 12 years, dropped 14 albums
Hundreds of feature projects, so the outcome
Is really ginormous, I'm larger than life
And the bigger my life gets, the larger the price
Once again, everything about this track is very straightforward, but the execution is damn near flawless. I love this one. It’s dope as hell. The next three tracks were kinda weird… It’s not a problem with the music itself. The song titles were just fucked up on Apple Music. I don’t know if it’s like that on every streaming platform. I have no idea to be honest. Anyway, the following track was labeled as Nothing I Won’t Do, but it’s really Go & Do That. The Common vocal sample that Amadeus flipped for the hook is dope, and the beat itself is really nice. Ruste Juxx murdered this shit too.
Quarantined in the crib with the fam pennin' rhymes in the livin' room
Two o'clock in the AM when my vision bloom
I see the slaughtering of various artists
Dismember the body, then I bury the carcass
Nothin' but darkness pierce the moonlight
Said I was the hardest, and I guess you assumed right
'Cause ain't nobody writin', recitin', spittin' it like this
Fuck what they typin', they been bitin' my likeness
I think this is one of his best performances on the whole album to be honest. He spazzed here. It was cool to hear him rap about the earlier days of his career in the second verse. I think the song is dope as hell honestly. The next track was labeled as Go & Do that, but it’s really Burning Hot. This one features a great sample of ODB’s Brooklyn Zoo. The lyricism from Ruste on this one ranges from genuinely wholesome—rapping about not doing drugs, eating nutritious foods, appreciating his fanbase, having guardian angels, etc.—to being super aggressive and hardcore. The final quatrain of the second verse in particular contained some of the darkest lyricism on the whole project.
My shit burnin' hot
Send you to the pits of Hell where you burn and rot
You don't wanna get shot with the gun to your jawbone
It's all fear and rap battles in the war zone
I really fuck with this track. I think it’s super dope. The penultimate song was labeled as Burning Hot, but it’s really Nothing I Won’t Do. I don’t like this song as much as the others personally, but I do still think it’s pretty good. I’m just not crazy about the guest vocals from Forever Chosen on the hook. However, I really like how pretty the production is, and I appreciated the lyrics from Ruste Juxx, which were genuinely super romantic. I know his wife had butterflies listening to this shit.
She's my forever and a day
Always by my side, but never in the way
Will lift me up to fix me up
Saw me rollin' in the five, had to six me up
I'ma give her the sun, the moon, the stars, the earth
Asteroids, meteorites, the universe
Anything that her heart desires
Plus any knowledge that her smarts acquire
It’s a very beautifully written song. I fuck with it. The closing track is another highlight called Won’t Be Televised, and, as you may have guessed from the title, it’s another Culturally Rich type of song, focusing on a handful of specific lynchings that have occurred in the United States this year.
I immediately put this track in my “Fuck Cops” playlist after I heard it. I love the jazzy, kind of uplifting production from Amadeus on this one, and Ruste Juxx was spitting pure knowledge here. In the opening verse he raps about the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery.
But still they took two months to make arrests 'Til the video went viral and all over the net Now the people protestin' for justice for Ahmaud But I say we make it life for a life, word to God Burn that bitch the fuck down We won't have peace until this white suprem'ist system is shut down Weak and wicked are the ways of neanderthals Only respectin' the blast from the cannonballs
I love it. Ruste uses the second verse to rap about the lynchings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. I have a lot of respect for artists who aren’t afraid to be “radical” and militant towards white supremacy. We gotta stop reacting with “forgiveness.” That kinda behavior disgusts me. We gotta start firing back. Anyway, I think he nailed this song, and it’s dope as hell.
This album is really goddamn great. Honestly, it’s even better than I was expecting it to be. Out of the five albums I’ve heard from Ruste Juxx in the past couple of years, this is genuinely my favorite one so far. There isn’t a single track here that I don’t like. Every verse here is super well written, and his vocal delivery is on point, as always. I was also super impressed by Amadeus 360 the Beat King’s work here. This album is undoubtedly traditional Boom Bap music, but I wouldn’t say that it sounds derivative at all. I think Amadeus’ approach to sampling gives him a somewhat unique and recognizable sound. I’d love to hear more work from him in the future because these beats are fire. I’d be down for a sequel to this album honestly. These guys are a great pair. I look forward to hearing more from both of them. This shit is dope. Don’t sleep on it.