In the vibrant tapestry of American hip-hop, ICN emerges as a multifaceted artist, weaving his lyrical prowess, singing finesse, and rap sensibilities into an intoxicating musical tapestry. Born in the heart of Indianapolis, Indiana, and nurtured by the vibrant sounds of Chicago, Illinois, ICN has spent over a decade on a relentless journey through the rhythmic realms of music. For the past 12 years, ICN has been crafting sonic experiences that resonate deep within the hearts of his listeners. His musical odyssey has seen him collaborate with esteemed artists such as 2Chainz, Yo Gotti, and more, solidifying his place in the ever-evolving hip-hop landscape.
ICN’s roots run deep, drawing inspiration from a lineage of iconic artists that includes Nas, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, 2Pac, ASAP Rocky, and 2Chainz. His fascination with the art of hip-hop ignited in 2013 when he crossed paths with the visionary Michael, known in the industry as DJ Prolifik. This fateful encounter marked the genesis of ICN’s transformative journey into music. Under the tutelage of DJ Prolifik, ICN underwent a decade-long metamorphosis, evolving into the lyrical maestro and versatile artist we marvel at today. The mentorship of DJ Prolifik was the crucible where ICN’s raw talent was refined, honed, and ultimately molded into a blazing trailblazer on the musical circuit.
From the humble beginnings of basement recordings to gracing tracks alongside some of hip-hop’s luminaries, ICN’s ascent in the industry has been nothing short of meteoric. In 2023, he etched another milestone in his musical saga by securing a record deal, catapulting him to new heights of recognition and acclaim. However, ICN remains grounded, attributing his remarkable journey to the unwavering support of those who have played pivotal roles in his life. He acknowledges the profound influence of DJ Prolifik, who ignited his passion, as well as the unwavering love and support from his parents, the encouragement of his girlfriend, and even the complex, bittersweet lessons learned from his exes.
In ICN’s lyrical universe, every beat, every word, and every emotion is meticulously crafted to resonate with fans on a profound level. With an illustrious past and a promising future, ICN continues to captivate audiences with his exceptional talent and unique blend of musical artistry, leaving an indelible mark on the ever-evolving landscape of hip-hop. Recently signed by DJ CEO’s label Let’s Get It Productions, on October 20 ICN releases the single “Like Iggy” featuring 2Chainz.
- Can you tell us more about your background and upbringing in Indianapolis and Chicago?
ICN: Well I was born in Indianapolis Indiana and I spent a chunk of my childhood here with my mother, but due to complications, I was later sent to live with my father who also lived in Indiana. After living with my father for a few years there were yet again more complications, which eventually resulted in me, being sent to live with my Aunt and Uncle in Chicago. Life in Chicago even with the similar urban environments was very different than life in Indiana especially for an 11 year kid that never really went outside and hated school because of bullies. Chicago had its up’s and downs, and even though I may have been born here in Indiana it was Chicago that shaped into who I am today. I could go on and on about life in Chicago. But I ultimately returned to Indiana in my adult years where I began building my music career.
- What motivated you to pursue a career in music, and how did you get started in the industry?
ICN: Believe it or not I actually never saw myself getting into music as deep as I did if even at all. When I was with my mother one thing that she loved was poetry, listening to it writing it etc. So I was exposed to rhythm and rhyming pretty early on and began writing poetry around the age of 7. So I guess you could say that I always had a way with words but I had never attempted or even thought to attempt out words to music. I had ZERO musical knowledge up until a met a Dj named Dj Prolifik in 2014. I believe at the age of 21. Dj Prolifik owned a recording studio and had invited to check it out. At the time I still had never rapped a lyric in my life and it took me a couple months to ever go check out the studio. But once I did check it out I thought it was dope and decided to record a song just for the hell of it. The song sucked the delivery was trash it was a horrendous work. But Dj Prolifik had said that I had “raw talent” and he thought I should stick with it. So over that next decade or so DJ Prolifik molded me into the artist that I am now and he was also the spark that lit the fire as far as music.
- What does your moniker “ICN” stand for?
ICN: Ice Cold Nigga
- Could you share some insights into your musical journey over the past 12 years? What were some of the defining moments in your career?
ICN: I’d have to say my very first performance was definitely a huge defining moment. Having gone from not knowing anything at all about music to performing on a small stage in Shelbyville Indiana was huge to me, then having my second ever performance on an even bigger stage it’s the Emerson., and then of course signing my first record deal with Let’s Get It Productions in 2023.
- You’ve appeared on songs with established artists like 2Chainz and Yo Gotti. What was it like working on these tracks, and how did those opportunities come about?
ICN: Working on those tracks was actually kind of like a dream come true, especially with 2chainz being one of biggest inspirations. How it came about is a short and sweet answer. I have the dopest manager and team behind them and I owe that “dream come true” to them.
- Your musical influences include Nas, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, 2Pac, ASAP Rocky, and 2Chainz. How have these artists shaped your own style and sound?
ICN: All of these artists have helped shape my sound in more ways than one, but the main thing that I take from them is to lead the beat don’t let the beat lead you.
- Can you tell us more about your collaboration with Michael (DJ Prolifik) Ellis and how he helped you develop as an artist?
ICN: Over that decade Dj Prolifik became like a brother. He’s like my living definition of a “day one” because we been at this since day one. Still to this day Prolifik not only continues to help me grow as an artist but as a businessman as well. With that being said I feel that the rest goes without saying. You’ll be seeing a lot of Dj Prolifik throughout my career.
- From starting with little knowledge about music creation to signing a record deal in 2023, what has been the most significant milestone in your career so far?
ICN: Definitely getting the opportunity to collaborate with 2Chainz.
- Your debut single, “Like Iggy,” featuring 2Chainz, is set to release on October 20th. Can you give us a sneak peek into what inspired this track?
ICN: Honestly Iggy Azalea was the inspiration, her beauty, her work ethic, her music. I know some may disagree but I love Iggy, and I hope to one day have the opportunity to collaborate with her. Also a good friend of mine that I spent some time in RDC with named “stone”. He gave me the idea of a song that reflects a REAL “bad bitch”. A beautiful successful woman whose body is a work of art, that works hard day in and day out, and displays a character that I feel everyone could appreciate.
- What message or story does “Like Iggy” convey, and what can listeners expect from it?
ICN: The message is to have fun, and feel yourself. Whenever people hear that song, I want them to be feelin themselves. When women hear that song I want them to feel like they just as bad as Iggy if not badder. Get up and dance, show yourself off no matter what people think. When the fellas hear it I want them to feel like they can achieve anything. Like they can have any woman in the building, and go anywhere and do anything that they truly want to do.
- How do you feel about your journey from recording in a basement to achieving success in the music industry?
ICN: It’s been tough. It really is a cutthroat industry and because of that it’s been a very long and costly process. Now I could never forget where I come from, but I try not to spend too much time looking back. Especially with everything that I presently have going on now as well as everything that I have coming up. All I can say is stay tuned.
- Are there any specific experiences or lessons you’ve learned along the way that have had a profound impact on your music and career?
ICN: Every experience holds a lesson rather it be good or bad, and what I’ve learned is to appreciate every experience good or bad, because those experiences came with knowledge that can be applied to growth.
- Could you share some insights into your creative process when it comes to writing and producing your music?
ICN: I have a few different creative processes but the one that works best for me is writing the song in my head. Writing songs in my head allows me to either write in my head to a beat that only exists there, which leaves me room to play with my vocals, cadences, vocabulary, and more. Memorize it and fit them to a real beat later on down the line, or I can write to a beat throughout the day AFTER I’ve already heard the beat and memorized the tempo, bar counts, and transitions. It’s like meditation for me, being able to write songs in complete silence by memorizing beats and sounds within the beats and rapping different lyrics and bars in different cadences in my head. Until boom…I’ve written the song. I have the beat, the lyrics, cadence, transitions, and adlibs all memorized without ever writing it down and can record it on the fly. It’s an uncommon, but very useful way of creating music, in my eyes
- What do you consider to be your unique musical skills and strengths as an artist?
ICN: I’d have to say my ability to blend the sounds of different artists all into one and couple that with an unpredictable, and even sometimes unorthodox flow and you get ICN.
- As an artist, how do you handle criticism and feedback, and what advice do you have for aspiring musicians dealing with both positive and negative comments?
ICN: I’ve always been open to all forms of criticism because it can be used to improve in places you didn’t even know needed improvement. My advice would be to appreciate any and all feedback, and most of all LISTEN to the criticism and apply it don’t take anything to heart.
- What are your aspirations and goals as an artist for the near future and the long term?
ICN: In the near future I’d like to have a good strong foundation built so that I can take these experiences learn from them and apply that knowledge to building the very best long term future possible.
- Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations you can tease for your fans to look forward to?
ICN: Oh FASHO, I have another song with Yo Gotti, and ANOTHER one with Rich The Kid and I also have my new single “FASHO”. So make sure y’all stay tuned for those as well as some TV appearances.
- How do your family, girlfriend, and past relationships influence your music and creative process?
ICN: I do this FOR my family, and my kids. I want to be able to give them the best life that any son/father could give and I refuse to let them down. My girlfriend has been by my side since before the deal when I had nothing working a 9-5 living paycheck to paycheck. She never gave up and she always believed in me even when I stopped believing in myself. And as far as past relationships go all I have to say is shout out to my exs for leaving me doing me dirty talking and on my name and telling me that I would never make it rapping. (In my Chris Brown voice) Look at me now.
- How important is authenticity and staying true to yourself in the music industry, and how do you maintain that authenticity in your work?
ICN: I believe authenticity is very important, but also making sure to have fun with it is just as important. Don’t let it become just work. Sometimes it’s good to get on a track and just have fun talking yo shit. Be authentic but keep the passion strong.
- Finally, what message would you like to convey to your fans and supporters as you continue to grow and evolve as an artist?
ICN: To my fans, I just want to say that I appreciate them giving me the love, support, and recognition that they have been and continue to give, and it is because of them I am able to continue to grow and evolve as an artist.
OFFICIAL LINKS: https://instagram.com/icn_atitagain