Rapper Ice Spice was reportedly personally invited to glitzy Met Gala by Anna Wintour, but who is the 23-year-old musician and what do you need to know about her?
Among all the mainstays on the Met Gala’s glitzy carpet last Monday was one guest many people might not have been too familiar with.
Wearing custom Balmain and carrying a bedazzled Judith Lieber clutch bag in the shape of a vintage film camera, Ice Spice made her Met Gala debut and had all the guests talking.
The 23-year-old rapper was reportedly invited by the event’s chair herself, Anna Wintour, editor of American Vogue.
While the invitation of the little-known - in some circles at least - rapper might be a surprise, it was likely more than a clever move by Wintour to appeal to a Gen Z audience and get more of them talking about the Met Gala. Euronews Culture takes a look at Ice Spice’s rise to fame and how she’s gone from small-time artist to huge star in just over a year.
Who is Ice Spice?
Born Isis Naija Gaston in 2000, the rapper grew up in the Bronx in New York City, is of Nigerian and Dominican descent, and launched her career in 2021 after meeting fellow Bronx resident producer Riot, who encouraged her to take rap seriously.
Ice Spice recently revealed that her father was an underground rapper and credits him for her music knowledge; she also cites Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj as influences in her work.
She released her first single Bully Freestyle in 2021 and shot to fame last August with her hit Munch (Feelin' U), which got gold certification. The song’s popularity was bolstered even further when Lil Nas X dressed up in a replica of Ice Spice’s outfit from the music video for his Halloween costume. It got bigger still when Canadian rapper Drake shared it on his SiriusXM channel, Sound 42 Radio.
The hashtag #icespice now has 8 billion views on TikTok and the rapper followed up on the success of Munch with Bikini Bottom which gained huge popularity on the video sharing platform in 2022 and with Boy's a Liar pt2 this year. She’s also collaborated with the ‘queen of rap’ Nicki Minaj on the track Princess Diana and she now has nearly 36,000,000 monthly listeners on Spotify alone, as well as 8.2 million followers on TikTok.
The collaboration with Minaj marked a full circle moment for Ice Spice, who previously told XXL Magazine she’d admired her for years, saying, “When I saw Nicki, I was so mesmerised. She’s the first female rapper that I seen. And ever since then, I was kinda set on what I wanted to be”.
What else do we know about Ice Spice?
Not to be confused with a member of millennial-favourite the Spice Girls, the rapper says she chose her performance name while at high school, telling Elle, "I chose Ice Spice because it literally rhymes. Plus I love spicy food. I put hot sauce on everything".
In the same interview, she put her success down, in part to being, quote, “gorgeous, confident and witty” and told Interview Magazine her faith helps her to keep grounded, saying, “I pray all day. Me and God are besties”.
Regardless of the real reason behind her stunning rise to fame, she’s captured the imagination of A-listers even before Anna Wintour’s invitation to one of the fashion events of the year.
In January, superstar Beyoncé personally chose Ice Spice to star in an Ivy Park x Adidas campaign, featuring bright orange pieces.
Just last week, she was announced as the newest ambassador for Kim Kardashian’s hugely popular shapewear brand Skims.
While Ice Spice’s fans - called ‘munchkins’ - won’t be surprised by their heroine’s speedy climb to the top of the rap tree, we’re all excited to see what she does next.