During the 2010s, Russ Vitale -- a rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer -- emerged from the Atlanta-area underground with dozens of independent singles and albums, all of which were made freely available as downloads. Vitale's prolific output switched between swaggering modern hip-hop anthems and woozy R&B-oriented ballads, with relaxed melodic hooks the common element in both modes. He gradually gained a significant following through word of mouth and exposure from alternative weeklies and major rap publications. Across 2015 and 2016, his career really picked up, with cuts like "Losin Control," "What They Want," and "Pull the Trigger," which were among his most popular recordings to that point. ~ Andy Kellman
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