Describing a rising musician as “a breath of fresh air” can feel contrived, but when it comes to the 23 year old Isis Naija Gaston aka rapper Ice Spice, the phrase exceeds its meaning. Quite honestly, she’s above the air we’re used to: the formula Ice Spice is creating within the Bronx drill and rap scene is something completely new. After releasing her breakout single ‘Munch (Feelin’ U)’ last August, the New York native released more singles leading into her 2023 debut EP Like..?. Now dominating the collective hive-mind of the internet, she currently has a #3 Billboard single, the #1 trending music video on YouTube, and over 36 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone. One thing we know is certain: whether you’re online or not, Ice Spice’s presence is rapidly becoming inescapable.
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Before Ice Spice’s infectious lyrics “he say that I’m good enough, grabbin’ my duh-duh-duh, thinkin’ ’bout sh*t that I shouldn’t’ve” were on a repetitive loop in everyone’s minds, the rapper was attending State University of New York at Purchase and self-releasing her music. Growing up inspired by the likes of Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim, Ice Spice was always destined for a similar path as her female rap idols. This vision became a possibility after playing a set for SoundCloud last June. With that set gaining attention, not long after, with the help of her producer RIOTUSA, she released ‘Munch (Feelin’ U)’ and the song’s music video through WorldStarHipHop. As she began to accumulate a following online for her now-signature style of feminine mumble rap, Drake caught wind of the song and played it on his Sirius XM show. From that moment forward, Ice Spice’s name was unavoidable across all online corners, and it was only a matter of time until the world knew what the doe-eyed, fiery-haired princess of rap is all about.
As 2022 came to a close, the attention Ice Spice was sustaining began to make one feel like if you didn’t know who she was, you were out of the loop (this notion would become truer on TikTok in 2023.) Last October she released her next single ‘Bikini Bottom’ and continued to prove that she was able to take her craft seriously, while also creating a space for her songs to exist within that felt fun and carefree. On the 20th of January 2023, Ice Spice released her debut EP Like..?, and its third track ‘Gangsta Boo’ with Lil Tjay was her first song to chart on Billboard’s Hot 100. Ice Spice’s sweet and cutesy personality began to shine through as more press coverage and interviews released alongside the viral attention she was gaining.
Everything shifted on the third of February, when out of nowhere, the British bedroom-pop artist PinkPantheress released ‘Boy’s a Liar Pt. 2’ – a remix of her recent single, now featuring Ice Spice. Only released just over a month ago, the collaboration has gone viral in every way humanly possible, particularly on TikTok. It now feels like there’s a new viral trend involving Ice Spice on TikTok every week, particularly the mash-up of ‘In Ha Mood’ with Nicki Minaj and will.i.am’s 2010 song ‘Check It Out’. The mash-up went viral over an edit from the 2008 film Barbie & the Diamond Castle, creating a popular dance which even had Kim Kardashian and Kanye’s daughter North make a TikTok doing the trend alongside Ice Spice.
It’s genuinely impossible to predict what this year or even just the next couple of months could look like for Ice Spice because she’s in a constant state of going viral and being fawned over. All we can say is that her future is so bright, so much so the queen of rap herself, Nicki Minaj, tweeted a photo of Ice Spice and captioned it: “the people’s PRINCESS.”