Ikon Chicago Producer

PREMIERE: Ikon “Picture Me Rollin” ft. Felly and John River

Photo by Bryan Allen Lamb

While traditionally, New York and Los Angeles have been hip hop’s mainstays, other cities are continually cropping up as new pillars in the scene. These cities are steadily churning out new artists day-by-day, and creating a connective tissue between new and old.

With his latest loosie “Picture Me Rollin,” Chicago-based producer Ikon—who has worked with the likes of Saba, NoName Gypsy, and Sicko Mobb—employs the talents of L.A. vocalist Felly and Mississauga, Ontario native John River to merge the East Coast, West Coast, and Midwest. “Basically, the song is just really about like connecting people, connecting Los Angeles, Canada, and Chicago,” Ikon explains. “Bringing three huge hip hop scenes together, and just like bringing two [rappers] together that are from two different areas, two different countries—making something happen out of nowhere. These two never met each other, so it’s like I’m going to connect Canada with Los Angeles and see what we can do.”

Oscillating between a delicate and fluttering bass, Ikon lays the foundation for Felly and River, catering to both artists. Felly’s cadence alludes to a mellow, carefree demeanor (something you’d associate with California), while River’s cadence is abrupt and fast-paced, closer to an East Coast aesthetic. The airiness of Ikon’s beat boosts Felly, while the thudding bass reinforces River.

Though L.A. is historically a backbone of rap, Toronto and Chicago are slowly proving that they have the same worth. Ultimately, “Picture Me Rollin” acts as a unifier, joining the sounds of three major cities.

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