Mancunian rapper Lady Ice has put in work over the last few years, the fruits of which are her own label and forthcoming EP Slush. Its lead single Do That For was recently premiered on Capital xtra and drops on Friday, the morning after her set at Band on the Wall for Inner City Waves #11. As she approaches the release, we had the pleasure of chatting with the determined and versatile MC, discussing the new material, creative independence and having fun with her craft.
You’re about to drop Slush and a new single Do That For. What can we expect to hear in terms of flow, melodies and production?
Lady Ice: ‘Ayyy Yeah, Do That For is the debut single taken off my debut EP…debut, debut, debut, haha. I’m majorly excited for this: if I didn’t say already, it is my debut, sorry I’m a nerd haha.
This is what makes it exciting for me, I can’t wait to show the world different elements of my artistry. What I will say is that no track is the same; every single track is different. And that’s what I wanted to show. Like, I always add my Caribbean Island vibes to all the work I do, whether it be grime or any other genre, so I do use my Jamaican patois tongue. But when you listen to the first track you won’t expect to hear the second one. I call this body of work ‘flavoursome’ as all the flows and melodies vary. You get to hear more sing-songy than just straight bars which you have heard before. The production, well it’s playful and mixed with an urban edge. My producer is called Sonus, he’s a genius on the buttons.’
You recently released the video for Who’s Got It Now and in one scene, we spy Bugzy Malone and Dizzy Rascal up in frames on the wall. Are these artists who had a significant influence on your flow or is there another reason that they’re up on there?
Lady Ice: ‘They haven’t had an influence on my flow, but I will say Dizzee has had a significant influence on myself coming up in the grime scene. When I was young, Dizzee was the guy! If you didn’t have Boy In Da Corner or Showtime you wasn’t sick or lit or whatever you wanna say, haha. At the time of these releases I was still very young, but my older brother brought them into the house. In terms of all the grime artists I used on the wall, I feel these artists are key components to a healthy grime scene and have all have made a massive contribution overall. Hence why I used Stormzy and Bugzy Malone as they’re the new generation of grime MC’s and have taken the genre to another level. But we also cannot forget the ones who started this and paved the way. Who’s Got It Now is my first house track I put out there. But the message I wanted to put across was that I’m the grime child from Old Trafford polishing my craft and showing my versatility.’
You’ve rhymed over a Michael Jackson instrumental on 1Xtra, solo acoustic guitar on BBC Introducing… is there any style or sound that you haven’t tried dropping a verse on? Does doing so keep you sharp in terms of the music and its rhythmicality?
Lady Ice: ‘I think I’ve tried dropping rhymes on all genre’s now haha, although I haven’t put it out, there’s hidden gems in the archive. I love experimenting and having fun with my craft. I believe you should have fun with your passion, it shouldn’t feel like you’re trapped in a box or unable to spread your wings.’
We’ve seen a ton of documentaries going viral in recent years, profiling underground rap music in Blackpool, Brum and South London. If a team of producers turned up in Manchester tomorrow, who would be the artists you think they’d need to speak to for a comprehensive impression of underground rap in Manchester?
Lady Ice: ‘Hmmm, I’d have to say Two Four Kay, as much as his styles vary I believe he works with a lot of underground rappers, plus resides in the heart of Moss Side, where there are a lot of flourishing rappers. He’d definitely be able to give you an insight.’
Having been involved with TV talent shows earlier in your career, what’s your perspective on them today? Do you feel they can be beneficial for young artists making their way in music or performing arts?
Lady Ice: ‘It was a great experience for me, as I was very young and rapidly wanted a taste of the industry. But the person I am today and all the experiences I’ve had, I wouldn’t advise music talent shows. I believe the industry is in a phenomenal state. Artists are no longer in need of the big machines, to push and expose them. The internet is a powerful place, artists can be working minimum wage part-time, today and be a music sensation the next. It’s very fast paced and much easier to get your name out there. I really do love social media.’
Julie Adenuga gave an interview to Red Bull music recently, going in-depth on the benefit radio has had to UK music. What for you, as a contemporary artist, is the perfect platform for expression? Is the radio freestyle as important as the mixtape, the music video and the album project?
Lady Ice: ‘I believe everything adds to the campaign. It allows those who spend a lot of their time doing either, to pick it up and listen to it. As much as music videos are a massive promotional tool, it all adds to the bigger picture.’