The Break Presents: Icy Narco
South Florida has become a hotbed for rap’s next big stars in a matter of a few years. A handful of 2018 XXL Freshmen have emerged from the area, transforming the scene once known for booty-shaking club records into a region that is popular for its genre-bending, lo-fi trap sonics. Miami rappers with highlighter locs have invaded the industry as well as the charts, and while Icy Narco's aesthetics may fit in this category now, the newcomer’s end goals extend further than today’s hip-hop trends.
With more than 150 tracks in the vault, Icy Narco is equipped with enough material to keep his name in the spotlight for years to come. “I feel like I’m just using this genre and I’m feeding them what they want so I can create a cult following,” he admits during a visit to XXL’s New York City office. “Once you have that cult following, you could really do what you want... So right now I’m basically creating a platform for myself.”
After gaining a rep for battling students in between classes, Icy was pushed to get in the booth by his high school peers. After gaining traction online, he moved to Los Angeles and lived off the money he earned by recording features, charging collaborators $500 a song. He eventually recorded his first solo track, “Legend,” with Jimmy Duval, the producer behind the late XXXTentacion’s infectious breakout single, “Look At Me!”
“He had a session in some house where Guns N’ Roses recorded their first album,” says Icy Narco, whose name was inspired by his drug-trafficking brother. “It was a fuckin’ legendary vibe; it was my first time in the Hills and shit. So I went in there, fuckin’ freestyled some shit [and] made that song in three hours. I never touched it again, not even today. It sounds so perfect.” A short time later, he was given the opportunity to play it for industry exec Elliot Grainge, who was ready to sign Narco to his 10K Projects label almost immediately.
For the past four months, Icy Narco has spent a great deal of time perfecting his craft as he preps his debut album, Frozen Fable. So far he’s tapped Ronny J, Southside and an unnamed rapper he’s calling the “people’s favorite artist.” As far as a release date? “I don’t know,” Icy says, as he glances at the snowflake tattoo on the back of his left hand. “Time is frozen.”
Learn more about Icy Narco as XXL breaks through his frigid exterior in the latest installment of The Break.
I grew up listening to: “Kanye West, Chief Keef, Lil Wayne. I also listened to [Young] Thug a lot ’cause I like his cadences and his style. [Lil] Uzi [Vert], I like his energy. That was more recently, ’cause he’s newer. But West, he’s so monumental. I feel like he just be making statements, you know what I’m sayin’? I like that.”
People compare my style to: “As for now, people are obviously comparing me to [Lil] Pump. I’m not gonna say unfortunately, because he’s doing good. But with time, I feel like my style is just gonna unveil with its own story, its own theme and its own meaning. People gotta remember: The people that they’re comparing me to blew up off of drugs and ignorance. They could try to be positive now and change their image because of the people around them. The management and people behind them that are trying to make money off of them are obviously gonna tell them what to do for their marketing, but naturally these people, at heart, that’s what they’re promoting: Drugs and ignorance. You can’t truly help the world and make shit better if that’s the root of who you are. I been drug-free my whole life. So I feel like I’m just a leader, not a follower.”
Most people don't know: “Icy Narco’s room is really cold, but they already know that. Girls know that already."
“I used to do martial arts growing up, so I feel like that’s a whole other side of the fucking ballgame that I could come back to, and come for Conor McGregor. I was doing that shit for like 10 years. I started when I was 6 and stopped around 16, 17 ’cause high school started—the parties, the girls. I wanted to do that and I would wake up late so I stopped going. But I definitely had insane cardio back then. I could fuck your favorite rapper up.”
My standout record to date: “I feel like the first song that really brought me up and people started really paying attention to it was ‘#RONNYJIKILLEDTHIS.’ It was my first Ronny J beat. Me being from South Florida, that was important to me. I really fuck with his sound, so the moment I got one of his beats I took off on it. It was a little freestyle. ‘#RONNYJIKILLEDTHIS’ and ‘Numb & Frozen’ I recorded the same night six months ago, and those songs are hitting millions. So my question is, OK, people are fucking with what I made six months ago, so what about these six months of progress that I’ve had, just working and sharpening my sound to really do damage?”
My most slept-on record is: “I’m so early in the game that I feel like there hasn’t been a chance for anything to be slept-on. And the ones that really need to be listened to are in the vault right now. They’re sleeping. In hibernation.”
My goal in hip-hop: “I never wanna go mainstream. I wanna have a mainstream following, but I don’t wanna ever go mainstream just because I feel like mainstream artists, they don’t really have real emotions and real meanings behind their music. But I’d rather just make the Icy Narco sound I want to make and take it as far as I could possibly go, and not let a label really try to control my sound.”
I'm going to be the next: “I’m going to be the next legend. I feel like the music industry’s such a dark world, so in five years [I’ll probably be] living really good, hidden away from society with all the money and investments I’m making.
"Numb & Frozen"
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