Released: 2018

Features: Vince Staples, Ludwig Göransson

“Ice Cold (Final Round)” by Mike WiLL Made-It, featuring Vince Staples and Ludwig Göransson, takes us on a frosty journey through the peaks and troughs of hip-hop success. Staples explores the paradoxes of power, wealth, and fame and doesn’t shy away from showcasing his own upward trajectory in the industry.

The opening lines, “How dare you want from me?/ I’m where I’ll always be” illustrates Staples’ steadfastness against external demands. He’s asserting his position to define his own path, unapologetically and unchangingly. The declaration “It’s all down hill from here” could be interpreted as the industry being an uphill struggle to reach a pinnacle. Once you’re on top, it’s all downhill, indicating either an easy ride from now on or the inevitable decline that follows success.

The chorus of the song, “Who want to meet they maker/ Who want to meet they savior”, is reminiscent of the finality of death. Typically, to ‘meet your maker’ denotes experiencing the ultimate consequence of one’s actions – death. Yet here, Staples flips the script. It’s a bold testament to his power in the industry, positioning himself as both creator and messiah within his domain.

Mike WiLL Made-It Ice Cold (Final Round) (with Vince Staples & Ludwig Göransson)

Staples also addresses the isolation that comes with success on “I’m in a big house now/ Who never seen their neighbors”. There’s an inescapable loneliness to fame that goes beyond physical distance. Staples knows he’s distanced himself from his old life and the people he once knew, an inevitable price for his success.

The lines “Best believe I’m pay-per-view/ Best believe I’m made for few” is Staples’ proclamation that his music is exclusive. Like a heavyweight boxing match on premium cable, his art isn’t for masses, it’s for a select audience who appreciates his craft.

The closing verse drives home this idea of achieving despite obstacles. Staples insistently raps, “I want it, I take it/ I want it, I’m jaded/ I want it, I’ve made it/ I’m scoring so you can keep count here/ Just don’t count me out, yeah”. His success, though hard-fought, has left him jaded, yet undeterred. So while he asks us to keep score, he simultaneously warns us not to underestimate him. It’s a fitting mic drop for a track that encapsulates Staples’ fearless attitude in facing the trials and tribulations of the rap game.