The rapper Russ headlined Los Angeles’ iconic Hollywood Bowl on Thursday night, performing to the biggest crowd of his career so far. It’s a long way from his days at the Echoplex in L.A.’s east side, a venue which held a few hundred, and even more impressive that he filled the 17,000-seat bowl as an independent artist.
Knowing that it was a celebratory gig for the 29-year-old, surprise guests were in store and included Ty Dolla $ign, who popped out for “3AM”; and BLXST, who performed “Chosen,” which also features Ty$ and is, per Russ, his mom’s favorite song. She, too, was a guest in the audience and made for a beautiful mother-son moment ahead of Mother’s Day.
But the pivotal moment came when another Los Angeles superstar YG graced the stage, performing his smash hit “Big Bank.” Soon after, Big Sean would join in to deliver his standout verse on the hit song.
Sean’s “Bounce Back” came next, its sentiment clearly resonating with Russ.
“Yo listen, this dude Big Sean really doesn’t get the proper props he deserves for being the top lyricist that he is,” Russ declared. “People really got to understand when it comes to his pen, the cleverness, the bars, the wordplay. … Big Sean is one of the best to ever do it. Period!”
Big Sean returned the compliment, calling Russ a ”legend in his own right, doing things his way.”
“Note To Self,” Russ’ song featuring Big Sean, Wale, Joey Bada$$ and Hit-Boy, came next as Russ confessed he wasn’t entirely prepared to perform the record.
Other onstage cameos included KATLYN, the TikToker boasting two million followers who signed to Russ’ DIEMON Records and features the rapper on a remix for the track “HANDSOMER”; and Ab-Soul from TDE, with whom he’s collaborated in the past on “Who Wants What.”
As the finale approached, Russ brought opener BIA back to the stage to perform their 2020 viral smash, “Best On Earth.” Released in October of 2019, the song took off thanks to a cosign from Rihanna, who posted her approval on Instagram (Russ raps in the first verse: “She knows what the fuck is up / I don’t gotta dumb it down / Tatted like Rihanna / Pussy singing like it’s Run the Town”).