who is the musical artist known as ian?

who is the musical artist known as ian?

Yesterday a curious video came across my desk (Twitter feed). A young white man who looks a bit like Steve Albini's zoomer son stood with his head poking out of a vehicle that was parked in the middle of what appeared to be the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan. The vehicle was mobbed on all sides with young men, and the man in the car was playing rap music—"his mixtape", according to the hip hop news account Kurrco that shared the video—that this small but enthusiastic crowd of young dudes seemed to already know.

This man was referred to simply as "Ian."

I'm a music blogger, ladies and gentlemen. I have numerous concerns spread across the world wide web. I have many blog posts posted at many individual web sites. I like to think of myself as a music blogger. And as a music blogger I hope that you'll forgive just good old-fashioned plain speaking. Is this the rest of my life? Am I to spend my days on the internet, trying to figure out through context clues who random dudes named IAN are?

I suppose I must. I know hip hop is not my forte on the blog, but I like all music and more importantly, I like musical moments, which means that this random guy named Ian who was apparently enough of a draw to briefly clog a high-end New York City shopping street is now my problem.

Here's what I was able to dig up on Ian (thanks mostly to a detailed bio on his Genius page—extra shout out to its primary editor, THEDEVILWALKSAMONGSTUS):

Ian is reportedly from Dallas. He is experiencing very recent success—the first TikTok he posted on his current account was from March of this year—but he has been putting out songs on Soundcloud as early as 2018, formerly under the name "suburbancerberus"...Ian was paying attention in his ancient history class.

He has a Spotify account with almost 700k monthly listens and no profile picture.

He released an EP called Only For a While in 2022 and has been releasing singles over the past couple of years.

His breakout song "Figure It Out" has 2.6 million plays on Soundcloud and Marshawn Lynch is in the video. "Figure It Out" was originally posted on the social video platform Triller, and has gained traction on TikTok since then.

Ian's vocal delivery and busy trap beats draw comparisons to the rapper Yeat, who I like, because of his song "Gët Busy where he raps, "This song already was turnt, but here's a bell [bong]."

The r/hiphopheads subreddit has been noticing Ian, and speculating on his origins and goals.

On the strength of "Figure It Out" and follow-up "Grand Slam," Ian has apparently signed with Bu Vision, a record label run by Columbia Records executive vice president Bu Thiam. (Or possibly he was already signed to them, which is how the songs did so well...I would not rule it out!) I found that info on the Genius page for Ian's debut mixtape Valedictorian, which is coming out May 17th (aka tomorrow), and though Ian does not yet appear on the Bu Vision website, Bu Thiam posted a photo of the Soho viral mixtape moment on his Instagram Story:

That's pretty much it for my knowledge of Ian. The most interesting thing I have noticed about him so far, besides his unabashed suburban white-dude presentation (his mixtape artwork appears to be a recreation of the classic frat boy "you know I had to do it to em" meme, for example), is that the comments on his TikToks keep referring to aura: that he has an aura, that it's a good aura, etc.

I am thirty or forty years old. Is this something Ian-specific, or are the kids just saying "aura" now as a whole thing? I like it and have sometimes used it to replace "vibe," which I have used so much now it has been ground into dust. I just need to know the hot new slang so my cohort can run it into the ground and make it deeply uncool to use! Millennials actually have a group chat for planning such things, and a google doc and stuff. Anyway, it's Aura Watch 2024 over here. Good luck Ian!

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