With a quick wit and even quicker bars, Ice Spice has proved that she knows how to ask the real questions. Fresh off of her newest EP, “Like…?” the Bronx born rapper and mastermind of rhyme has quickly solidified her place into both musical and pop culture prominence, from the headlines of the New York Times to pictures posing with Hatsune Miku, K-Pop superstar Chuu, and even Martin Luther King Jr. Yet, with her newfound rise into the spotlight, the gaze must first be turned to her past, answering the questions of who is Ice Spice, what is a munch, and how exactly can she “lose if [she] already chose.”
Hailed as “Rap’s New Princess” by the New York Times and the queen of sexy drill, Ice Spice’s roots in the world of music are ones almost as old as she is. Taking inspiration from her father, she began to write from a young age, rapping about her day on walks home from school and growing up on the works of Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, and Pop Smoke. “[It] sounds corny ‘cause, like, I’m a rapper. But I’m like, I can’t do shit without music,” she confessed in an interview with Elle, reflecting on her adoration for the artform that keeps her going in her day-to-day life. However, despite her long past on the outskirts of the musical arena, she only began rapping professionally in 2021 in partnership with friend and producer RIOTUSA.
Born of the digital age and just as savvy with a screen as she was in the city, Ice Spice was quick to collide with fame, initially going viral for her rendition of the Erika Banks “Buss It” challenge on TikTok in early 2021. This brief run-in with stardom was one that would prepare Ice Spice for her upcoming Internet takeover with the song “Munch (Feelin’ U),” a track that would take TikTok, Billboard Charts, and even “Sound 42,” Drake’s radio station, by storm. This ode to self confidence and of course, munches (i.e. “eater[s] or someone that’s like obsessed with you…”, per the Ice Spice dictionary in an interview with Genius), took wind to the world and introduced the Internet to Ice Spice, her iconic ginger updo, and a well-needed look into female-lead New York rap.
With more and more releases, culminating in her most recent drop of the 2023 EP “Like…?,” Ice Spice has proved herself to be a lyrical seamstress — weaving her words across backing tracks from worlds of 2010s pop music (through her 2021 track “No Clarity”) all the way to “Bikini Bottom.” Her confidence and authenticity drip through her music and proves that she’s the baddie and gangsta boo she professes to be song after song.
However, with her work at the center of the public eye and ever-spiraling in the hurricane of social media’s storm, it’s become unclear how much of Ice Spice’s fame is genuine and how much only echoes off of the cyclic nature of meme and Internet culture. While incredibly authentic to herself and her individual character, Ice Spice’s quotable lyrics and iconic persona of a ginger-bobbed baddie have placed her as more of a persona than anything, detracting from the perception of her work in a musical eye. “How can I lose if I’m already chose,” Ice Spice poses — a rhetorical question, yet one that does raise an eyebrow in predicting her future trajectory as a musician and pop star.
Conscious of her fame, both in a positive and negative light, Ice Spice uses her strong reputation as a source of inspiration both for herself and her fans. Her laidback attitude and adaptable nature are attributes which make her stardom a masterclass in public perception, one that allows her to shift potential mockery into her own claims to fame. From her EP’s title of “Like…?” to lyrical nods towards her perception as the modern day “Princess Diana,” Ice Spice plays into the path the world has shaped for her — and does so with incredible ease. At the end of the day, Ice Spice’s work is grounded in her own confidence and authenticity, and that’s something that no critique is bound to break.
However, with a limited discography and a constant eye in the spotlight, Ice Spice’s work has begun to edge the line between “pop definition” and “pop repetition,” making it clear that her next steps as an artist lie far beyond her work’s current bounds of Bronx drill. “I do want to be a mainstream artist,” Ice Spice affirmed in an article with the New York Times, gazing towards her hopeful future path as a musician. “So I think in order to get that, you do have to surpass just one subgenre.”
With her artistic versatility featured through a recent collaboration on PinkPantheress’ “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2” and her current work’s vast acclaim in the public eye, it’s clear that Ice Spice is only getting started. And, with a road ahead paved in Gucci and gold, we’re so excited to see where she goes next.