A couple years ago I wrote a cover story about Chicago’s intersecting hip-hop and streetwear communities; I covered plenty of independent local brands but there were some I wasn’t able to get to at the time, such as Iridium Clothing Company, which was founded in 2008 by a guy who goes by the name Platinum. Iridium opened a boutique in the Loop back in the fall, and it’s well loved by local MCs—a quick click through Iridium’s Tumblr brings up a mess of talented local rappers cloaked in its apparel, including ZMoney, Roy French, and Chris Crack. (Oh, and there’s a picture of Justin Bieber wearing one of Iridium’s T-shirts too.)
The company’s connection to the local rap scene goes deeper than that too. For example, rapper Pugs Atomz serves as Iridium’s creative director; he began designing for Platinum a few years ago, and recently Atomz began working on another project for Iridium. “To go with our new spring-summer line we decided to make a soundtrack with the people that have been supporting our brand over the years,” he says. Yesterday Atomz dropped the first song from the forthcoming collection, “Iridium Life,” which he made with producer and MPC master Abraham Orellana, aka AraabMuzik.
Atomz says Platinum asked Orellana for some instrumentals when the beat maker was in town to perform at the Mid last year, and Orellana passed along some tracks as soon as he returned to New York. Atomz says “Iridium Life” is the first song he made from that batch of beats, and he recorded it at Mullato Patriot‘s Uptown studio with frequent collaborator Awazcate, whose funky, lackadaisical singing sizzles atop Orellana’s buzzing, glistening track. “The beat really gave me a good feeling and I wanted to attack it in a word play [sic] meets ‘Wu Wear‘ type feel,” Atomz says. “That song was a commercial but it was still a pretty cool song.” Atomz’s tune is definitely a commercial, and he even mentions the boutique’s address in the song; it’s an unusual line and it took a little while for it to sink in, but Atomz pulls it off in a way that it jibes with the song’s playful, carefree vibe. Take a listen to “Iridium Life” below, and keep an eye out for the full Iridium soundtrack, which is set to drop next month.
Leor Galil writes about hip-hop every Wednesday.