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The Story Behind The Song: Icicle – Problem (Ft Skittles)

icicle - problem

Doomed by the dollar: Drum & bass and politics don’t come hand in hand very often. But in the case of Icicle – Problem, it’s a perfect match.

A savage snapshot of slippery, slimy, merciless money minded top men who reduce genuine poverty and destitution to bare numbers ripe for the massaging, Skittles paints a stark, grim picture lyrically before you even think about the video.

Analysing the brutal beat-them-join-them-rob-them reaction many adopt to combat selfish power tactics, the Manchester MC has a better solution… Let’s have a few cheeky parties eh?

Balancing a dark realism with a realistic, obtainable wry light, we think they are some of Skittle’s best lyrics to date… Which is saying something considering his full-pelt flow on Dub Phizix’s I’m A Creator and Camo & Krooked’s The Lesson.

Of course, props go to Icicle for the track itself. The first tune to come from his long-awaited second album Entropy – released November 17 on Shogun Audio – it sets the bar high for what’s set to follow. We called up the Ice man and found out how the whole track and sick video came about…

The distribution of wealth and chance is unfair but you can’t be depressed and negative about it all of the time… Console yourself with a bit of a party every now and again!

“I’d seen Skittles around for a long time. I get along with the Manchester guys really well and every time I play there we have a nice little party. About a year ago Skittles was down for a Rinse show, N-Type I think. We got together and had a bit of a laugh and I told him ‘look mate, I’ll buy your train tickets back home if you stay down and spend a few days in the studio’. He said ‘yeah why not?’ So he came over to mine, listened to 20 or 30 unfinished tunes, told me which ones he liked and Alex Evans – the guy who records all of our vocals at Shogun – recorded two tunes within an hour. It was really impressive.

Because everything was so quick and fluid, he didn’t write these lyrics specifically for me. He just had a bunch of bars and lines that he’d been working on anyway. The tune had a certain attitude that he knew would work. When you listen to it it’s got that dystopian, futuristic cold vibe which fits Skittles’ lyrics really well. Overall it’s a very serious tune but there’s a playful side to what he’s saying… The distribution of wealth and chance is unfair but you can’t be depressed and negative about it all of the time… Console yourself with a bit of a party every now and again!

Making the video was an amazing experience and the first time I’ve ever been involved in something like that at this level. Jack Chute the director is very talented. I originally had something animated in mind but he came up with this concept of hybrid computer generated stuff with a lot of live action in between. He built a 360 green screen with a 360 rail with a camera on it and filmed everything with the actors in different outfits and Skittles rapping. Then afterwards he built all of those amazing visuals with the pyramids of people representing the evil of society which Skittles breaks down. I think it’s a great visual metaphor. He really nailed the concept and it fits the tune so well.”