Lady Ice made a statement for Females on the Rap Game UK, a BBC Three talent contest which saw South London rappers Krept & Konan and BBC 1Xtra’s head of music and grime DJ Target, mentor seven unsigned MCs. Lady Ice stood out with her vivacious personality, vibrant style and lyrical dexterity. An MC in her own right, the Mancunian rapper showed viewers at home she had the ability to go toe to toe with the best of them in the game. Lady Ice made it to the end of the talent contest as the last woman standing and it is no surprise. The rising star has many tricks up her sleeve, at such a young age she has already started her own record label showcasing the importance of being business savvy in the industry. Fresh off of releasing her new single ‘First’. We caught up with Lady Ice, to give us the low down on the Rap Game UK and her experience of being an MC in a male dominated industry.
How did you get your start in music?
I have been making music from a very tender age, of 8-9 years old. I used to go to a local studio in the area of Mosside, with a group of friends that were all male. As time passed it was only myself going to the studio as everyone had given up music and began to focus on real life situations such as children, some went to prison and some education. At this point I knew it was a passion and began to branch out alone and meet various industry professionals. I was in the industry before I was out there out there, I just hadn’t released anything. I put out a freestyle remix to Ghettz ‘One Take’ in 2015 and it went viral on Facebook and received over half a million views. And it really started from there really.
Who is Lady Ice and how would you describe your sound?
Vibrant, flavoursome, versatile young diamond in the rough. With a strong business mind. As much as I’m colourful with a ball of energy and positive outlook on life, I have a major story of hardship to tell.
3) We enjoyed seeing you on The Rap Game UK especially as the last woman standing! Rap is typically seen as a male dominated industry how did you feel your experience compared to the male contestants on the show?
It was a pleasure representing the women on The Rap Game Uk. I really had to be on my A game, it was tough and very intense at times, but I fought the fight and remained, resilient and professional. I felt I was judged harshly and was overlooked compared to the other guys. I feel like the judges may have been doing it subconsciously, due to society’s programming. But I respect Krept, Konan and Targets opinions and decisions.
4) What were your highlights of the show?
My highlight was opening up about what happened to my Auntie P, I hadn’t been able to put pen to paper in the past. When I had tried to write about it, I ended getting too emotional to write anything. So for me that was therapy and by far my highlight.
5) What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?
The challenges were some of the pressures we all have to deal with as women in music. i.e having to go above and beyond to prove your worth. At times feeling minimised and overlooked. As much as ‘Thick skin’ sounds cliche I really had to dig within to apply that shield and believe in my sauce.
6) Which contestant/ contestants did you bond with the most and why?
I bonded with Ransom as we have a similar story. With losing our dad etc Fos used to message me before so I kinda knew him before Rap Game, plus myself fos and ransom are all Leo’s lol so we understand each other slightly. I used to be a-bit like the mum of the group behind the scenes so I tried to be a shoulder for the guys like Chade and Kiico.
7) Is there anything that went down on the show that wasn’t aired but you think should have been?
Erm yeah, there was a part in my clash when Smooth jumped off the stage and started to freestyle about my deceased dad. Which was immense pressure for me, as J Lucia already spoke about my auntie who passed away. I think the judges didn’t take that into account when doing the ratings. But again, they could have done this subconsciously.
8) Will you be officially releasing any of the songs you made on The Rap Game UK?
Ayyyy Yes, I released the song from the last episode (Ep 6) with Kenny Allstar on BBC Radio 1xtra. Titled ‘First’, pleaseeee go and stream and purchase that, everyone’s support is greatly appreciated.
9) How much support do you get from DJ Target, Krept & Konan after the series and how involved were they during this?
I get support from DJ Target, and BBC Radio 1xtra. I’ve got a great relationship with them! Target actually premiered my new single ‘First’ and made it the ‘Targo Embargo’ track. Krept and Konan, I presume are very busy due to their album release. Whilst being on the show, we received mentorship on one of the last episodes of rap game. Throughout, it was more so, getting feedback on a particular challenge on the spot, whilst the camera’s were rolling.
10) If you were in charge of The Rap Game UK how would you change it for next year?
Add an experienced female musician to the panel of judges. Or someone female with the relevant expertise. Have a ‘The Rap Game UK’ tour for the contestants, for when the show finishes. I think that would be a great experience and allow the supporters to see everyone perform in different cities. Also meet and greets. As there is a massive wide audience all over the country, that wanted to see us all perform.
11) How important do you feel sisterhood is amongst female rappers in the music industry, have you been able to find this?
I haven’t personally been able to find this and it makes me sad. I think the world tells us that there can only be 1 at a time and I think with some female rappers, they immediately put their competition hat on. I think it’s important to unite as we all go through the same struggles. We may be able to tell a male and try and help them understand but the relatability isn’t there. It’s just not the same! I believe sticking together with the same energy and mindset can make it easier for everyone.
12) There are claims that sex sells when it comes to female rappers how true do you think this is when it comes to rappers in the UK? Do you feel women’s artistry is valued in the same way as your male counterparts?
I definitely believe sex sells, for female rappers. But I also believe it sells globally, not just for the ones in the UK. The more cleavage you show the more sales you will get. And that’s just the reality of it. You can use it to your advantage or if you’re not that way inclined, you can probably expect your route to be slow and much more challenging like mine. But I’d rather be comfortable and be me than be uncomfortable and be someone else. I think it’s so rewarding for me when I make achievements because it’s directed at the art. My style is sexy, cute with edge. Not all the way sexy sexy, I like to mix it with a bit of unique and quirky.
13) It is clear that you are making your own boss moves by having a record label. How did you get started in this and how important is having an entrepreneurial spirit in the music industry?
I think it’s very important to be self -sufficient in an industry like this. As it’s very easy for creatives to be manipulated into situations they were not aware of. I find that as creative’s we get caught up in the passion of creating, and forget that this is also a business. We can be naive because we’re so eager and in touch with the art. For me it all stemmed from being let down. I was always set and ready to do things but I was always waiting on others and going at someone else’s pace. E.g. wanting to use the studio and it being booked up or unavailable to use. So I invested in an industry standard studio set up. I think everything is about timing and if I feel ready and God says yes, I want to go ahead and do it. Not wait for an engineer that can’t get in studio because he’s binge watching on Netflix lol. I believe that you need to make learning the business side a priority as it’s just as important as the music. You need to know what, how and when. And control your own dream.
14) What makes you feel empowered as a woman?
Living in a society that doesn’t treat us equal, having the power, brain capacity to fight and go against the grain.
15) What artists are you currently loving?
I currently love Koffee, Wretch 32, Ms banks, Izzie Gibbs and stormzy.
14) Who would be your dream collaboration?
Stormzy and Chronixx
15) What’s next for Lady Ice and where can we see you in the next five years?
To release a strong body of work, more TV and fashion ventures. In the next 5 years I want to be global and be known as that strong educated woman that rose above my initial surroundings of poverty and crime.
16) What legacy would you like to leave in the music industry?
A woman in a Male dominated industry that came from a small town of Manchester, chose to be herself and elevate, no matter the hardship. Also, to teach girls that fear is not effective if you overcome. Stand firm in any uncomfortable surrounding and if you fall get up and smile, coz we gotta look cute and crying ugly. Haha.
I wanna be one of the most versatile artists on the planet. I believe versatility makes you a skillful artist. Broadening your horizon and touching different sounds can move a nation.
You can follow Lady Ice on: