Ruslan had quite the 2017. With the Dream Junkies breaking up, signing new artists to Kings Dream (Jet Trouble and Jon Keith), his back and forth with shai linne and most notably releasing Indie Jones, Ruslan was very busy. This isn’t terribly out of character for him; he is one of the hardest working artists in all of CHH. Whether it’s doing album reviews or keeping an active presence on social media, Ruslan stays relevant. He looks to be continuing this trend in 2018 with the release of his latest project Indie Jones II. This is the follow up to the successful Indie Jones project from August 2017.
Indie Jones was some of the best work Ruslan has done in his career. It was soulful, deep and timeless. The latter of those adjectives is something that can always be associated with Ruslan and his music. Play something from any stage in his career and it works, regardless of the time it was released. This trait is one that every artist chases (or at least should) but only a few can achieve. Ruslan has a way of mixing authenticity with a keen ear for good music to make something that is true art. This has been the case throughout his career and especially with Indie Jones II.
The artistic nature of this record hits you at the very beginning of the “Dozen Intro”. The unique and soulful beat signifies that this is a different type of record. That is solidified with his almost nonchalant flow and witty bars. This song sets the tone for the record very well. Indie Jones II is a journey. A beautiful, wide-ranging and fun journey. You vibe with this record. “Cool Guy Raps” is an example of this. Its slower tempo and lighter tone creates a relaxing environment. This is a song that can be played over and over again regardless of your mood. That could also be said for the whole record.
Part of making timeless music is to not fall into the trap of using current trends the way everyone else is using them. Ruslan rarely falls into this trap and does a good job of avoiding it on Indie Jones II. He does take small aspects of it and fit it to his style. Ruslan isn’t known for his bangers, but every once in a while he’ll give his version of that. “Cold Flow” is his banger in this record and it works so well. He sped up the tempo a touch from the previous tracks and turned up the bass slightly, and was able to make a radio single. He speeds the tempo up even more on “Like That” and gives us another banger. Both of these songs are incredibly memorable because of the great hooks that accompany the production. They are catchy enough to stay in your head but not too catchy that they are annoying. This is true about most of the record. It is incredibly memorable and something that will have you coming back time and time again. This is possible because Ruslan puts together a record with incredible production.
As great as the production is, Ruslan is still an emcee and the bars are just as important as the production. Lyrically, he has never been better than he is now. He is comfortable and confident, and that shows throughout the record. He also raps with a chip on his shoulder, like he has something to prove. This gives the project a grittiness that helps to make it memorable. He even alludes to this on “Hyena” when he says, “I rap like I got a chip on my shoulder/ but the truth is I probably got a few.” This is part of what makes him so appealing as a lyricist. He’s honest and real, and everyone likes someone who has those traits. We also love someone who works as hard as they can, while constantly trying to prove themselves. Even though he has nothing to prove, I love that he’s still out here trying to prove just how dope of an emcee he is.
Overall, Indie Jones II is an excellent project. It has everything you want in a record. It is an easy (running 36 minutes start to finish) and fun listen. The lyricism is incredibly strong and the production is equally as strong. Most importantly, it’s a record that can be in your rotation for a long time.