Ruslan was born in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, a country north of
Iran that was part of the Soviet Union. At the time of his infancy,
Azerbaijan was persecuting Armenian Christians who lived there, since it
was a mostly Islamic State. Eventually, groups in the middle class
started rising up wanting Armenians to leave, following suit in it’s
nation’s movement toward ethnic cleansing. In 1991, his family made it
on their journey from Baku, fleeing foreign embassies to get to Moscow,
finally ending up in San Diego, California. As a 6 year old Russian
speaking kid, the only things that Ruslan knew about America were
Michael Jackson, and American ninja movies.
When first becoming acclimated to the states, Ruslan faced a lot of barriers: not speaking English, Ru was one of 5 white kids in his school, and was called a “commie” due to the tension between Communists and Americans at the time – yet at such a young age, Ruslan had no clue what any of this was. Eventually, Ruslan started making friends in his apartment complex, and became infatuated with Hip-Hop culture. With the old 90s catalogs where you could purchase a bunch of CDs in bulk for cheap, Ruslan took advantage of this and ordered as many Hip-Hop CDs that he could.
At first, Ru was freestyling and rewriting rap songs for fun at around 10 years old, and then went to his first open mic at 12. But due to the connection between Hip-Hop culture and Gang culture, Ruslan started acting out, getting arrested for attempting to break into a house at 12, Ruslan was put on probation at twelve years old. Because of this, Ruslan’s mother moved them to the suburban area of North County, San Diego, where he started making good grades and playing basketball. In his sophomore year while freestyling with friends, they told him “Yo, you’re really dope, you should take this rap thing seriously”, and since then, Ruslan has been doing just that.
Later on, Ruslan met Beleaf, who at that time was just a DJ, but together formed the duo known as theBREAX, where they opened up for artists such as Mobb Deep and Ghostface Killah. Unfortunately for Breax fans, they disbanded to create what Ru coined as “theBREAX on steroids”, adding John Givez to their new label, Kings Dream Entertainment. Although the three would all do their own individual music, they also form the collective known as the Dream Junkies (similar to what TDE does with Black Hippy). Since creating Kings Dream Entertainment, Ruslan has released two projects, being his Out of It EP, as well as his conceptual album about the story of a Ruslan-like character, Do For One.
In my opinion, one of the best songs on Ruslan’s recent Do For One album is “The Game Don’t Wait”, which features his labelmate John Givez. Although lengthier than your average song, Ruslan’s storytelling alongside Curtiss King’s production make it feel like a quick ride. Plus the beat switch on this song is ridiculous.