Producer albums can often be some of the most rewarding listens in all of hip hop, they are often times dream projects for the artist that require patience and timing. There is no timetable to do one, Jake One was around for years on the west coast underground before he dropped the stellar ‘White Van Music’ in 2008. Statik Selektah was a known DJ, but was pretty new to the production game when he dropped ‘Spell My Name Right’ in 2006. It varies from artist to artist, to varying degrees of dopeness.
We are always on the lookout for them, sometimes the interest is drawn from the guests other times we are willing to listen to whoever is spitting on our favorite producers creations. Icon Curties was not a name we were familiar with at all, but when the track list for his new project ‘Modus Operandi’ dropped it was almost stunning to read. From Eto to Daniel Son to Estee Nack, every single track features top notch bars from quality emcees over intriguing boom bap production. The vinyl is coming soon on Tuff Kong Records, and in the meantime you can cop the digital on Icon’s bandcamp located at the bottom of the article
RD: You are relatively new to American listeners, then you dropped your excellent ‘Modus Operandi’ album. How long have you been producing for Italian rappers, and what made you want to do an entire album of English speaking ones?
IC: I have been making beats over the last decade, soon started producing for some rappers from my city and collaborating with them constantly. You can find most of them in my previous albums. Taking it overseas has been really spontaneous since I’ve always listened more to American rap than the local.
RD: Do you make different styled beats depending on the language? Do the different dialects lend themselves to different tempos?
IC: Making beats it’s all about the mood, my day, it comes natural when I find the inspiration. I don’t actually think about rap when I’m producing, only when I listen to the result I imagine who can spit something on it.
RD: Take us inside the creation of the album, what went into selecting the talent? You have some of the finest on there. How long did it take to complete?
IC: Indeed, I had the opportunity to get some of my favorite artists on the project, I’ve been listening to their works over the last few years and I took my chance to work with them. It took a few months, produced the most after a trip to Barcelona where I had an amazing digging session. After that I got in contact with them and got it concrete.
RD: The record dropped on Tuff Kong, one of our favorites. What’s your relationship like with Cuns and the guys over there?
IC: The guys at Tuff Kong are the people which I like to work with they’re chill but real serious on business, and I’m their customer too!
S/O Cuns and Dom!
RD: Do you actively shop beats, or does it have to be a special situation? You had an amazing placement on Codenine & Paranom’s Million Dollar Minks album
IC: I am fine with selling beats since I can work with talented artists and create. If I don’t feel it I’m not working just to get some cash or to drop more material with my name on it. I’m very proud of the works with Code Nine, he made one of the best songs in Modus Operandi and I provided one of my favorite beats for his album.
RD: What project of yours are you most proud of?
IC: Those songs where the lyrics perfectly match my feelings on the beat.
RD: If you had an unlimited budget for your next project, who would you have on there?
IC: If I had unlimited budget I’d probably spend the most on records. The list of artists who I’d like to work with is infinite, but Lord Quas is definitely on top.
RD: What does the future hold for you? Do you plan on dropping anything else in 2018, or continue to promote ‘Modus’?
IC: My plans for the moment are just collecting wax and making beats. I already have some unreleased material, both Italian and American, still to define when they’re dropping but it will happen in the near future for sure.
You can follow Icon on IG @beatzgerald and on Twitter @curties_icon
Modus Operandi is available digitally here https://iconcurties.bandcamp.com/album/modus-operandi
Tuff Kong vinyl link https://www.tuffkongrecords.com/collections/frontpage/products/modus-operandi-lp-1