Ice Spice

Ice Spice and the Evolution of Female Rap


Oct. 18 2023, Published 10:13 p.m. ET

Walking in the footsteps of other drill music heavy-weights from New York like Pop Smoke and Sheff G, Ice Spice has emerged as a rising superstar, brushing shoulders with other artists on the red carpet.

Born Isis Naija Gaston, the Bronx native, started releasing music in 2021 while still in college (New York at Purchase (SUNY Purchase). Her catchy music "Munch (Feelin U)" caught the attention of hip-hop juggernaut – Drake, who highlighted the song on his Sirius XM radio station.

The song went viral on TikTok, marking her breakout into the hip-hop world.

Ice Spice's Role in the Evolving Landscape of Female Rap Artists

From its inception, hip-hop has always been a competitive genre of music. Every artist is angling for a bigger fan base, more track placements on the radio, more alum sales, and bigger shows while touring.

Spice has recognized the reality of the competitive nature of hip-hop. In an interview with BET, she noted that while female hip-hop artists are winning, the competition amongst her peers is still alive.

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She noted her excitement about female hip-hop artists thriving. "Basically, we here, the girls, are doing amazing. I'm excited to see it."

However, she also recognized that competition exists within the genre, saying, "I feel like the competition is what keeps us all excited because I think we all secretly enjoy competing and seeing who put that s–t on better and who's gon' get the most views."

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"I can be transparent, and I know the competition is checking on me, too, which is why it's okay to say that," the "Boy's a Lair" artist explained. "Because it's like, 'Yeah, girl, I'm watching you, and I know you watching me.' And boys are watching, too, because they be secretly haters."

She concluded, saying, "Everybody today is competing with everybody no matter if you a boy, girl, nonbinary, whatever it is. You still checking in on your competition. That's in every industry."

Her Style

Her style is a personification of her personality. It combines New York drill music with a calm, relaxed flow infused with a pop-esque sound. Her lyrics are a testament to her confidence in her musical abilities. And when you combine her lyrics and delivery, you have a superstar artist.

In an interview with The New York Times, Nicole Racine, founder of Talk of the Town, described Ice Spice's musical style. "She makes this thing we call sexy drill. Her being sexy, being feminine, not the rah-rah drill that we expect." While her music is clearly drill, it feels mellow and devoid of the fast overtones that typify drill music.

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Spice's Contributions to the Genre

She has built a huge fan base (her Spice Cabinets) that loves her flow. Her unique lingering delivery has made her a fan favorite among the drill scene fans. She is a leader in this relatively new hip-hop sub-genre. Moreover, onlookers and fans of the drill scene, such as Racine, recognize her as the lynchpin for the success of other female artists in the drill scene, especially in New York.

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Talk of the Town's Racine noted, "She'll make the sexy drill mainstream. She's just gonna open more doors."

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