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IKENO breaks down his sticky new Nate Smith produced “Maple Surrp Freestyle”

Toronto, ON – Earlier this month Scarborough artist IKENO teamed up with frequent collaborator Nate Smith for this new record titled “Maple Surrp Freestyle”.

Taking inspiration from a recent heated encounter with a special female, IKENO decided to make a song that is one part sticky syrup and hot cakes mixed with one part sexy sexual encounter.

It’s actually a double entendre because the hot cakes represent dat ass. And what’s more, the verses on this track were completely freestyled off the dome. Listen to “Maple Surrp Freestyle” below, and scope our Q&A with IKENO after the jump.

IKENO breaks down his Nate Smith produced


HipHopCanada: Start off by telling me what prompted you to write this one. Was there a particular experience with a particular female that inspired this one?

IKENO: Yes there was. Before Nate and I got to the studio at 3 a.m. I was with a special lady and I won’t get too deep into details. But she became the muse for this song. She inspired the majority of the lines and I just decided to add more colours to what was already there. Because the experience was so fresh, I couldn’t escape freestyling about her.

HipHopCanada: What does this song mean to you on a personal level? It’s a different look to make an afterhours song that compares sexual intercourse to hotcakes and maple syrup.

IKENO: On a personal level, this song means a lot because it was inspired by a real life experience (even though there was no pancakes or maple syrup involved). My muse for this one knows this about her and I. And this track is sacred to us now. Ha! Originally the hook I freestyled was “Pancakes with the maple syrup” but I changed it to “Hot Cakes” immediately after… when I realized the opportunity to create a double-entendre; a woman’s ass being “hot cakes”. The comparison actually stemmed from the feeling the beat gave me and the joy of morning sex. Usually morning sex is followed by breakfast (hopefully in bed), which just made the lyrics I freestyled a match made in heaven.

HipHopCanada: Talk to me about your work process with Nate Smith, and what that is usually like (do you start with the beat or the bars? etc). When did you two start working together and how did you meet?

IKENO: Nate and I just go with the flow. Either he sends me a beat before we hit the studio and I come with the whole song complete already. Or we build off of fresh vibes early in the morning (usually sleep deprived), and I freestyle hooks or just flat out record mumbled melodies as he builds a beat. After I mumble the melodies I’ll plug in the lyrics. I’ve learned to embrace this method as of late because I strongly believe that the initial feeling and raw emotion is the most important component in great music. This just happened to be a rare occasion where there was absolutely no writing involved, just straight vibes. I met Nate back in 2013 through common artistic circles and a mutual friend, and we’ve been working ever since. Prior to this year we were both working on our sounds but now we’ve both improved so much and he’s pretty much my go-to producer. I haven’t really worked with anyone else. He pretty much the most reliable and consistent person I know. Period.

HipHopCanada: Talk to me about why you made this a “freestyle”… because it has a hook, which implies you pre-planned the lyrics. But I could be wrong.

IKENO: So to expand on why I called this a freestyle… It wasn’t a traditional one-take freestyle. But I did go off the top and freestyle each individual section. It was just one of those magical moments where all the lyrics were coming out at once and we kept the track rolling and recording. Very quick creation. Maybe the quickest ever by Nate and I. Not once did I stop to write anything down.

HipHopCanada: What kind of vibe were you going for with this record?

IKENO: Originally Nate and I were building a track called “The Sauce” and it was just going to be another braggadocios track about how I got it goin’ on. But when Nate was making the beat, the vibe took a whole new direction which forced me to freestyle a completely different concept. Instead of “The Sauce” I decided to make it more original and make it about “Maple Syrup,” being that we’re Canadian and it just resonated with me more. The beat is so soft and melodic and it matches the late night-early morning vibe of the moment when Nate and I were recording. My intention was just to make something that the homies could listen to and sing along to with bravado. And something the ladies would find smooth and sexy. Yet it can still run alongside some of the hottest shit in the club.

Twitter: @iamIKENO

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Sarah Jay

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Sarah Jay is based in Calgary and works as a freelance journalist and photographer. Sarah is also a former A&R talent scout for the Universal Music Scouting Program, and runs a vintage store during the day. Sarah has juried the JUNO Awards, The Polaris Music Prize, and The Prism Prize. She has been fortunate enough to interview and photograph some of hip-hop's greatest influencers including Future, ScHoolboy Q, Ghostface Killah, Moka Only, Maestro Fresh Wes, Shad, Joey Bada$$, Mac Miller, and more. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @ThisIsSarahJay

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