A memory is a treasure when it ages,
Treasures, listed through pages,
That is life and how it goes,
With every breath through ones nose,
Though we sit, wordlessly in silence,
Silence is memories, in remembrance,
While silent, brace the past,
But let the memory go, it is not the last,
Think of the future, how it could be vast,
Because time flies, it does so fast,
Life goes up, like a hill will rise,
But it might fall steep, when happiness dies,
Beware of the fall, for it is depressing,
The slightest mistake ruins everything,
This fall is dangerous, it bothers a soul,
Just like water can ruin hot coal,
Use your time, make life groovy,
Whilst taking care of living smoothly,
I hereby tell you, enjoy the present,
Amusing or not, it is a present.
It makes perfect sense that the first Russ show I attend be part of ‘The Real Fans’ tour – simply because, if you’re looking for the most dedicated Russ fan, I’m your girl. It doesn’t take a genius then to guess, that when I found out he was bringing his tour to London, UK, all hell broke loose in my house. I legit fan-girled for a week straight. Even my mom couldn’t hide how psyched she was for me. The day the tickets went on sale, I had a class at 9am which I totally skipped to make sure I got the best tickets available. Later that week, I had sorted out flights for my little sister and I to go to London.
My relationship with Russ goes beyond the music (which is enough for anyone to be completely psycho about the guy). However, for me, I have so many different reasons and influences for why I’m completely infatuated with this artist and everything he resembles. For starters, Russ is a self-made artist and there is no whats, ifs, nor buts about it. This artist has completely manifested everything he has accomplished from scratch. Writing raps from the age of 7 and producing beats at 14, he never saw himself to be destined for anything less than absolute success. Russ immediately inspired me to start believing in my own dreams and aspirations. He serves as an example of what self-belief and perseverance can accomplish for you, regardless of the opinions of those around you or the barriers/obstacles you may face along the way. I frequently find myself listening to Russ whenever I’m studying or on my way to UNI. I do so, more for the message behind his songs and the motivation, rather than for the sake of an entertaining listen alone – which only added to his music’s appeal for me. More so, Russ has a good number of songs which draw on my personal experiences and feelings around the time that I first discovered Russ. As time went by, more and more songs that Russ dropped every week, would continue to resemble my love life. It started with ‘Losin Control’, and escalated to certain verses and lyrics in specific songs, that I would replay constantly. Of them all, there was only one other song that became just as idolised for me personally as ‘Losin Control’, and that was ‘We Just Haven’t Met Yet’ – talk about word for word title accuracy, am I right?
So, Mihar and I headed out for Dublin Airport at 5am. While we were waiting for the Aircoach, we were chatting to this lovely old lady, who was heading to Vancouver, Canada. For the next 10 minutes, Mihar had to legit hold me back from trying to convince her to swap tickets with me and let me make the trip to Canada instead of the UK. When we arrived, we spent the day at Hyde Park and grabbed a bite, before getting ready at my friend Mahinour’s house. We headed out to the O2 Forum, in Kentish Town. We were so disheartened at how long the line was – or more specifically, that we were going to have to join the end of it. The hour wait flew by as everyone shivered from the cold, and I, in pure anticipation and nerves. I was genuinely nervous to be seeing Russ in the flesh, live. We were approached by two girls from Berlin, who had travelled all the way, after missing tickets for the Germany show. They also initiated conversation with two girls before us in the line, Millie and Ellie, who were from the south of England and who Mihar and I very quickly befriended and clicked with. The four of us headed in, and we made sure to save ourselves the best view standing. For a better view, I sacrificed my favourite handbag and stood on top of it, to make sure my view wasn’t spoiled by those taller than me.
As I had imagined a million times over from watching his videos from previous shows, Russ erupted to the stage, entering from the right hand side. With an immediate beat drop, he came running out, shouting “YUNG GOD, WHEN I RIDE UP”. For the next few minutes, all that was heard was complete screams and wailing – 99% which was coming from me, no lie. The show line-up however was very different to Russ’ other shows. He played some of his older tracks, such as ‘Down For You’, ‘WIlly Wonka’, ‘Too Many’ and ‘Inbetween’ for the London crowd, rather than sticking to his new releases which were common at his other shows. This didn’t phase me in any sort of way – if anything, I was super ecstatic because I got to hear all the songs that had me hooked on Russ all those months back. It was clear that there was a few people unfamiliar with some of his old tracks, probably recognising Russ’ success following his most known hit ‘What They Want’. At one point, I remember Millie cheering me on because I was rapping word for word, ‘Inbetween’.
There were so many moments throughout the concert where I completely lost my shit. The most obvious of these was whenever Russ made any reference to Middle Eastern women, at one point questioning: “where my Middle Eastern women at? I’m looking for a wife tonight” to which I reacted by legit nearly fainting into Millie’s arms. I think I shouted something stupid like “WIFE ME”, and let out a weird, ridiculous giggle. The real meltdown came when he performed ‘Losin Control’, and I couldn’t hold back the tears. I sang along as loud as I could and thought about how much has happened since I first heard that song – how far that song has come in my life. I thought about how ridiculous K sounds when he sings it over the phone, as a nagging attempt for me to sleep. I longed with all my heart that K could’ve been there with me to share the experience, even more so when ‘What They Want’ came around because I remembered how I embarrassingly lost the bet that I would be hooked on the song. Come to think of it, I lose way too many bets to K by being too fast to judge music he suggests for me. The biggest meltdown of the night, was when the show came to a close, and I had to come to terms with the fact that he wasn’t gonna perform ‘We Just Haven’t Met Yet’. To say I was gutted is an understatement as to how devastated I was. I had waited the entire night, banking on him to give me that experience – but alas, for another time to come.
Russ’ energy is beyond bewildering and for a one man show – he controls the stage almost naturally. He had the entire crowd engaging like crazy to every single song played and to quote his song ‘Exposed’: “I could do a week long set if I performed my whole catalogue, every single song the crowds sing and rap along” – and Russ proved exactly that. My favourite part about the show, beside hearing all my favourite Russ songs live, was how Russ engaged with his fans throughout the night. He handed out water bottles, and constantly made sure that people were feeling okay. He stopped the show mid-song at one point, when a fight broke out, and took the time to try solve the dispute and remind people that we’re all here to enjoy the music and have a good time.
London also got treated to a preview of not one but two new songs off his debut album, before it was released. We got to see him perform about 30 seconds each, of Cherry Hill and Me You, and it was craaaaazy incredible. No one in the world had heard those songs yet. Not only that, but Russ closed the show with Giggs’ verse of ‘KMT’, which was such a legit way to end such an incredibly delivered set. I still find it hard to believe that the night even happened. Sometimes I think that I must have dreamt the whole thing. It feels completely surreal to me, that I witnessed my favourite rapper in the flesh right before my eyes. The energy I felt that night, is one that I think will be very hard for any other concert experience to ever compete with.