I’m always going to get caught up in “how did this happen” and “where did this even come from” cultural questions.
I’m not on TikTok, I’m not deep into drill (although, I’ve dabbled [adjusts monocle]), and I didn’t really enjoy much of the SoundCloud rapper phase.
But I have been surprised by how much I’ve liked some of these Ice Spice songs, and Jon Caramanica (NYT) and Jeff Ihaza (Rolling Stone) are here with a proper breakdown.
In “The Inevitability of Ice Spice” they talk about the pop-ification of drill, the boosts social media and specifically TikTok can give an artist right now, and the Stones/Pistols/KRS-level swagger of Ice Spice’s unmistakable delivery.
side note A: I know other rappers are doing this similarly, but tell me somebody else is this consistently in this energy if I’m wrong, and
side note B: “unmistakable delivery” – not really discussed in this episode, but for us 80s/90s kids who have a sensitivity to “biting” and “selling out” – this is (topically) where I get the most sucked in/interested. Performance + production + local phenomenon + social media memes/appropriations + global phenomena + …
If you’re a culture nerd, this is worth your time.
I’ll go out on this Rick Rubin quote followed up by a question – which is also why I think it pays to notice this stuff in relatively real time:
These movements appear like a wave; some artists are able to read the culture and position themselves to ride that swell. Others might see the wave and choose to swim against the current.
If Ice Spice is riding some sort of Drake and Cardi B aftershock wave? And if so, who do you see swimming against it?
(100 Gecs, Rico Nasty, JPEGMAFIA+Danny Brown’s upcoming album, etc. all come to mind for me)
Ps. the nervous tension in the production and rushed delivery – are the kids OK?
Pss. does this weird rushed/spoken flow give anyone else Co-Flow vibes? Not lyrically, but just in that underground, New York anxiously hyper-confident way? Also, Co-Flow is probably older than this generation, which is equally interesting to feel modern tremors.