How can she lose if she’s already chosen? wonders Ciarán Howley
If you’ve been on TikTok lately, you’ve undoubtedly encountered rap’s newest protegé: the one and only Ice Spice. Real name Isis Gaston, Ice Spice was born in 2000 to a family of five and raised in the Bronx, New York City. Her parents met at McDonalds before divorcing when she was two years old, inheriting her love for hip-hop from her father, a prominent fixture in New York’s underground rap scene.
She described her music as Bronx Drill and cites female rap greats like Nicki Minaj, Remy Ma, Foxy Brown, Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill as influences while professing her love for indie bands like Coldplay, the 1975 and even dubstep heads like Skrillex. Spice is the latest addition to Drill’s growing mainstream popularity, adding a touch of irony and audaciousness with her breakout 2021 hit ‘Munch.’
So what is ‘Munch’? Speaking to Erykah Badu and Puma Curry for Interview Magazine she said, “A munch is basically like an eater—someone that’s obsessed with you. It could be a hater, too.” It’s Ice Spice’s confidence and flying in the face of naysayers that makes the songs so easy to come back to.
After releasing a string of singles on Soundcloud, Ice Spice caught the attention of 10k Projects under Capitol Records, and sources say the 22 year old rapper earned roughly three million in the process. By that point, Munch had been streamed nearly twenty-million times - a clear sign that labels were about to swoop in and snag the rapper.
Her debut EP ‘Like?’ is loaded with self-assurance and attitude. Tracks like ‘Acting Like a Smoochie’, ‘In Ha Mood’ and ‘Princess Diana’ are zingy and addictive firecrackers that keep you coming back - the entire project totals at thirteen minutes and one second. TikTok has played no small role in the rapper’s fame - a recurring theme in the trajectory of new artists. Spice made a name on the platform doing viral dance videos before making music - her songs inspiring thousands of videos of which her beats have overscored.
She’s also inspired a flurry of memes and mimicries in her honour. Lil Nas X donned the rapper’s bright red curls and neon bandeau, a lá the Munch video, for Halloween last year, and memes with her cropped on Princess Diana in the revenge dress and hilarious captions from photoshoots have flooded the internet - with love.
But nothing could have prepared us for what may be the collaboration of the year - “Boy’s a Liar Part 2” by Pink Pantheress with Ice Spice rapping over the second verse. The remix has dominated TikTok for weeks, bringing two internet icons together to create a tune that was destined to thrive on social media. It’s also an absolute banger.
Long live Ice Spice!