If you’ve been anywhere on the internet over the past year, you’ll have seen Ice Spice – even if you don’t know who Ice Spice is. Those ubiquitous ginger curls have been more present on Twitter than Elon Musk, her face seems automatically engineered to work with the TikTok algorithm, and last year her collaboration with PinkPantheress spawned a viral music video and earned the number three spot on Billboard’s Hot 100.
Aside from social media, she’s also been dominating the media media, inspiring articles with headlines like Why Rapper Ice Spice Is Suddenly Everywhere (Time magazine), and Ice Spice, Hip Hop’s New Princess, Is Just Warming Up (the New York Times).
And if these pieces aren’t enough proof that Ice Spice is blowing up, this will sure confirm it: she is now officially the latest member of Taylor Swift’s girl squad.
After the pair collaborated on a a remix of Swift’s single Karma last year, the rapper was spotted in Swift’s star-studded box at the weekend’s Super Bowl, where the singer had parked up to watch her boyfriend Travis Kelce’s Kansas Chiefs take home the trophy. The group, which also included Blake Lively, Lana del Rey, Keleigh Sperry, and Ashley Avignone, was seen jumping up and down, spilling popcorn and drinks at the final whistle, even momentarily crushing del Rey in the excitement.
The queen of a viral moment, of course, Ice Spice’s appearance at the game quickly spawned a host of memes after users on X noticed her confused expression throughout some of the match. “People explaining football to Ice Spice in every video she’s in is so real,” one fan posted on X. “Lmao she’s also just there for Usher and the drinks, just like me,” another user said.
people explaining football to ice spice in every video she’s in is so real https://t.co/bA0BBAgKhD
— eritrean jo march (@_bucktooth_) February 12, 2024
So what do you need to know about Ice Spice other than her new friendship with Taylor Swift? A hell of a lot – here’s a speedy rundown.
Twenty-four-year-old Isis Gaston is a Bronx-born rapper living in New Jersey who attended State University of New York at Purchase, a liberal arts college. Her fellow famous alumni include Mistki, Regina Spektor, and the guy who designed the Demigorgon in Stranger Things (it’s a strange school).
While she wasn’t famous at school, she felt as though she could be. “Just the way people would treat me, even when it came to school or being out in public, I always felt stared at,” she said in an interview with The Cut. “When I was at school, I was really one of the most popular people there, so I always felt like, Okay, I could be famous because I’m so popular.”
She moved to New Jersey after she found herself getting recognised too often in New York, telling The Cut, “I get recognized less here, especially when I'm hiding.” We can only assume this means wearing some kind of hat because that hair is everywhere right now.
This all came after Ice Spice blew up in 2022, following the release of her singles Munch (Feelin’ U), and Bikini Bottom. She was already pretty big on TikTok before this, too, thanks to her regular posting, and participation in challenges like the Erica Banks Buss It challenge (which has since resurfaced). As for the name Ice Spice? She got the name from her first name and love of spicy food, and used it as her Finsta username before converting it into her rap persona.
Her famous fans include Drake (who last year refollowed her on Instagram, cue eyes emoji), SZA, Kehlani, and Beyoncé, who chose Ice Spice as the face of her latest Ivy Park collection, as well as Lil Nas X, who dressed up in her outfit from the Munch video for Halloween in 2022.
What really propelled Ice Spice to fame was her mega successful collaboration with English singer-songwriter PinkPantheress, entitled Boy’s a Liar Pt. 2.
She’s even admitted to noticing her hairstyle take a hold, telling the New York Times: “The hair is definitely iconic. When I was in high school, I was straightening my hair, trying to be something that I’m not. Now it’s flattering seeing a wave of afros. I enjoy that. I feel like that’s great for Black women especially, making afros more like just a normal staple look, you know?”
In May last year, she shot to new heights of fame after collaborating on a remix of her new bestie Taylor Swift’s single Karma from the Midnights album. In an interview with the Guardian, she said it was "surreal" when Swift reached out to say she'd been listening to the rapper’s January debut EP Like.. ? while rehearsing for the Eras tour.
"I was like, 'You f--- with my project? Like, what?'" Ice recalled. "She's so sweet – I was so obsessed with how humble she was and willing to work. She gives me so much advice. We talk all the time and she’s so funny."
She’s also happy to concede her faults. After a poorly received Rolling Loud performance in September, which drove criticism on Twitter (including a tweet saying, “I’m not a hater I want everyone to win I really do… Soooooo can someone please get Ice Spice some stage presence coaching & breath control training please,” which Ice Spice herself reacted to) she’s said she was “just happy they were talking about me, really.”
But Ice Spice has come a long way in the last couple of years, and it’s only looking up from here.