To a casual observer, it seems like Ice Spice has gone from being relatively unknown to one of the biggest stars in hip-hop practically overnight. “Munch (Feelin’ U),” her breakout single, only came out a little over a year ago, and since then, the Bronx-born rapper has been featured on songs with Taylor Swift and the soundtrack of the biggest movie of the year.
For some people, all of this has happened too quickly to be organic and there’s only one explanation for Ice Spice’s rapid rise to stardom (other than, y’know, a lot of people liking her music); she must be an industry plant.
Growing more popular than ever over the past few years, “Industry plant” is the term leveled at entertainers who seemingly have it too good, too quickly (it’s related to “nepo babies” without the family connections). If ever an artist starts to receive a lot of really high-profile looks in a short amount of time without a history of putting out a lot of music prior to their big breakout moment, it’s assumed that shadowy forces (usually major labels) have cooperated to make it so.
It’s an accusation that’s been thrown at any number of artists who seemed to get popular in a hurry, from Chance The Rapper and Cardi B to Flyana Boss, Lil Nas X, and HER — usually by folks who arrived late to the hype train, once it had already left the station.
Is Ice Spice An Industry Plant?
No. Come on.
Whether Ice Spice’s rise was 100 percent organic or due to the machinations of label reps behind the scenes, she wouldn’t be where she is today without tons of fan support. People are streaming her songs and buying tickets to see her perform; brands recognize the platform she now has and are taking advantage.
(And anyway, if a label is pouring resources into helping to increase awareness of an artist under its umbrella — that is LITERALLY THE LABEL’S JOB. That is what they are supposed to do and what they have always done. Just because it doesn’t always work doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. For every one success story are dozens of flops labels also spent a lot of money on. People just like Ice Spice. It’s not the end of the world. Relax.)
Ice Spice herself addressed rumors of her industry plant status in a new interview with Variety saying, “A lot of people have thrown that in my face — like ‘Oh, I’ve never seen anything happen so quickly. She needs to be studied,’ or ‘She’s a plant. I just let people believe whatever they want to believe, to be honest. I don’t really mind all the rumors. At first, I did, but now I’m at a point where I understand that just comes with this lifestyle.”
In any event, I have a theory of my own. If you spend enough time checking the timelines and profiles of the folks calling Ice Spice — or any successful artist — an industry plant, you WILL find a link to a SoundCloud or Spotify page with some mediocre music and less than 1,000 plays. Because the real reason anyone believes in that particular conspiracy theory is some good, old-fashioned “why not me”-flavored sour grapes.