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301icon’s “Love Songs”

If you like hip-hop music, you’re probably already aware that there hasn’t been a generation of up-and-coming players like the emerging one in quite a long time – if ever before. Artists like the talented young 301icon are changing the game for hip-hop music and removing creative control of the genre away from the corporate hierarchy that has inarguably driven it off a cliff and left it for dead in 2023.

301icon’s new single “Love Songs” is an ode to hip-hop spring sunshine; whether kicking back in the bed of a pickup and watching the sky or sharing as intimate a moment as four walls can afford two people, it has the warm feel that up-tempo hip-hop slow jams should. There’s no filler to be found in its instrumentation nor the lyricism that makes up its narrative, but rather a homespun realism on the part of our leading man that goes a long way to proving just how committed he is to real hip-hop music at this point in his career. I respect his moxie, and once you’ve heard 301icon’s latest single, I think you’re going to as well.  

As much as the lead vocal is the compositional linchpin in the mix, the instrumental parts that pepper the melody with an extra dose of heat have a star power that helps to illuminate the lyrical substance even more than it already would have been. Everything about this arrangement is meticulously crafted, but I don’t get the impression that 301icon was overthinking – nor overstating – any particular themes when he was trying to structure the hook.

 He isn’t leaving any of the subtle details out of the spotlight here; on the contrary, I think there isn’t a single component within this track that isn’t doing something to advance the mood of the verses forward and unto the audience. An acoustic version would go a long way towards dismissing the very idea of 301icon lacking the complete vocal skillset to carry more complicated songcraft in the future, and overall, a single like this one probably deserves a couple of remixes simply to highlight its composer’s dexterity as a player.  

I was a little familiar with what 301icon does in the recording studio beforehand, but I will say that listening to “Love Songs” this April has made me more interested in keeping up with his career as it continues to come together. He’s still evolving and proving himself to the established order in the hip-hop music community, but for fans like me and you, I think he’s already found the aesthetical niche that will raise his profile from the darkness of the underground scene to the bright lights of the primetime stage in the next few years. He still has some ground left to cover and some elements of his style that I would personally like to hear him experiment with, but this track is a fair measurement of all the progress he’s made thus far. To me, this feels like a step towards bigger success. 

Mindy McCall



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