Ice Spice

The Rise of Ice Spice

By Campbell Wood

A new “Queen of Rap” has emerged to possibly rise up the ranks to the likes of music icons such as Nicki Minaj, Megan Thee Stallion, and Cardi B. While these pillars of female rap took years to gain popularity and become the recognizable household names they are today, one curly-haired princess surpassed all odds and shot past these artists in the span of only a few months. Who is she? How did one woman come out of nowhere and gain more monthly streams than The Beatles? Who could possibly bring a song to No. 1 on the Billboard charts with only a minute-long feature? This goddess happens to be the one and only munch herself, Ice Spice.

Isis Naija Gaston, or ‘Ice Spice’ as we know her, was born on January 1st, 2000 in New York City on the west-east side of the Bronx. From the very beginning of her esteemed life, Ice Spice was writing freestyle raps in her notes app since elementary school after being inspired by female rappers like Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim. Other artists Ice Spice has mentioned to be an influence on her music are R&B artists such as Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu, artists known for their fusion of various genres like reggae, rap, and Motown. Her infamous alias “Ice Spice” derives from her spam account on Instagram when she was in high school, which was a play on her real name, Isis. As she puts in her own unique words, "I chose Ice Spice because it literally rhymes." After completing her time at Catholic school, Ice Spice attended the State University of New York at Purchase, where she studied communications and played volleyball (some of her pictures on the team recently surfaced and took the internet by storm.) Her first real lick of fame came from a video of her attempting the famous “Buss It” TikTok challenge that went viral on Twitter, which now has amassed over 70,000 likes. This 15-second video of Icy Spicy bussing it down going viral prompted the rap queen to get serious about music and launch her yet-to-be astounding career.

I first became familiar with Ice Spice after a multitude of videos and clips of the rapper’s signature song “Munch (Feelin’ U)” appeared all over  the internet through memes and various praise. I was fascinated by this new celebrity’s fierce internet persona and immediately was confined under her spicy spell. The various adlibs and drill style flow from a female rapper was something I had never witnessed done well, so her first impression was one that stuck. Not only did the idea of the self-proclaimed big-bottomed rapper entice me to no end, but I never went an hour without exclaiming her infamous catchphrase, “You thought I was feelin’ you?” around my family’s house. After weeks of what I thought was silly irony, Ice Spice unexpectedly came out with her debut EP on January 20th, 2023, 20 days after her new years birthday. As a joke, I invited a friend over to hold a listening party to hear her new songs. We got settled in and let the first track, “In Ha Mood” play on. Now I’m not sure if I can formulate my feelings from that day into words, but I would describe it like Binky from Arthur experiencing the beauty of experimental music for the first time. I fell into heaven.

My love for Ice Spice had blossomed from slight irony into utmost respect for what I thought was the latest musical genius. Her iconic simple yet charming exclamations such as “GRAH” and “Like” graciously flowed with her Bronx drill style rapping, and became an earworm for my brain that refused to depart. It felt as if her smooth flow was massaging my brain and putting me at ease. Over the next few weeks, I spread my love for Ice Spice among my friends and family, whether it was blasting her music at parties or even just simply asking them to check her out. I officially designated myself as a “Munchkin,” Ice Spice’s fanbase name. I began to learn more and more about the modern day Princess Diana and became exceptionally intrigued by her story and morals. Most of my respect for Ice Spice derives from her musicality and her perspective on the industry. She is a strong believer in female empowerment in the music business, and has been quoted saying that she only makes music for “Bad B **ches.” A quality I am most impressed with in artists is the ability to transcend genres and explore other types of music, and when I found out this was the direction Ice Spice had planned to pursue, I knew that I would be along for the Spice Ride. She has been quoted saying she had plans to expand her sound and even dabbling in other languages such as Spanish. I became ecstatic when I noticed that impressions of my favorite artists such as Ms. Lauryn Hill had become an influence on modern music I love today. 

While I had believed I discovered the Ice Spice hype early on, I felt as if the world did not appreciate the munch-loving rapper as much as I did. I was disappointed in how her legacy was being treated within the music community, until February 3rd, 2023 when Ice Spice announced a collaboration and remix with PinkPantheress of her song “Boy’s a Liar.” The song became an immediate hit on TikTok, as two superstars of the app had come together to create a viral masterpiece. The dreamy, bubblegum pop style of PinkPantheress’s style was flawlessly matched with Ice Spice’s raw verse and rhymes until she opens up and becomes vulnerable near the end to reveal a bit of her soft side. I hope this is an indication of her branching out into new genres as she has discussed before. The song went on to become an even bigger hit outside of TikTok, slaughtering the Billboard top 100 charts and helping Ice Spice amass more monthly listeners than exemplary artists such as The Beatles and Tyler, the Creator. She then began being recognized by celebrities outside the internet, as a video of Ice Spice with North West, Kim Kardashian’s daughter, was posted on TikTok of the two reciting the lyrics to the infamous PinkPantheress collab. Dating rumors even sparked with her and Pete Davidson, placing her among such iconic women like Ariana Grande and the previously mentioned Kim Kardashian. 

Ice Spice has become revolutionary across multiple mediums through her music and presence over the past year. I am enthusiastic to see the path the Bronx native rapper pursues, and I am yearning to hear what new music she has in store. While Ice Spice has become a household name and has taken over the contemporary rap game, I’d like to see her take on new genres and challenge the greats of music history. Her achievements thus far have been exceedingly impressive, and I am pleased that I am able to witness the rise of the one and only Ice Spice.