The cover artwork of 2004 depicts a rack of well-loved cassettes and mixtapes, a homage to an era when a young Kazakh MC Adil Zhalelov (aka Scriptonite) fell in love with American hip-hop. Studying the wordplay and production methods of artists like Dr. Dre, Busta Rhymes, and Usher, he would rise from selling beats online at age 15 to becoming Russia’s rap ruler. An exclusive to Apple Music, 2004 is Scriptonite’s fifth solo release, and his first in two years. There’s no crisis of confidence—the album drips with muscular beats and cinematic storytelling. Scrip reflects on his seedy struggles and hustler status throughout, bringing to mind the claustrophobic grimy realness of Mobb Deep. “Шуг” imagines a Suge Knight-like takeover of the Russian rap industry. He shows a different side of the capital on “Москва любит...” (roughly translated, “Moscow loves…”). Collaborations with Andy Panda, Райда, M’Dee, Truwer, and 104 (“Мебель,” “Привычка,” “Кто на телефоне? [Интерлюдия]”) show that squad goals are a universal mindset. 2004 reclaims the throne and is both of its time and timeless in its appeal. Listen to the album only on Apple Music.

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