From the churning landscape of SoundCloud where music genres hardly stick to a definite shape emerges Ictooicy, the 19-year-old singer-rapper detailing teenage angst, discontent and aspirations through zany lyrics. Sometimes the sound is avant-garde, sometimes she goes for the lo-fi minimalism that many of her peers have adopted to explore new sonic territories.
One of her earliest songs The Difference was recorded when she was sixteen, with its haunting, striking piano that evokes the theme song of Halloween (1978). High, featuring Jaya, is a commentary on drug culture, and lends a metaphor for needing someone. Her debut EP Majik boasts of a hazy, dreamlike tableau, propping Gen Z anthems like Sage and Summer Everyday.
”IC are my initials I’m not gonna say what they are cause I don’t want everyone knowing my government,” Ictooicy says about the origins of her her name. ”But yea and the other icy just means like being icy you know? And it doesn’t necessarily have to be jewelry it could be like a state of mind, like being a really chill person. But yea I thought it sounded super cool so I put the two together.
For her latest EP Sorry I Don’t Like Phone Calls, released in 2020, finds her being vulnerable, using voice mail beeps to delineate the hangups around love and relationships. The EP took her two weeks to record, mostly because she’s a fast writer and own decent studio equipment, and hence can record at will. ”Growing up I listened to a lot of Jaden Smith, I still do.” IcTooIcy says, ”I think out of everyone he’s had the most impact on me and this includes from my music to my fashion sense, at some point, he literally made me want to get locs when I was like 14. I also used to listen to a lot of like alternative music like Carlos Santana, Dire Straits and to be honest a lot of other people and bands. I think that’s part of the reason why I feel like I should dabble into more than just one genre.”
Ictooicy comes from an artistically inclined family: her father was in a band and now an architect while her mother is a fashion designer. They introduced her to music even before she was born, her mother buying her a boombox. Currently pursuing university education in Cyprus, Ictooicy is based in Lagos and not signed to any label. As an independent artiste, her teams consists mainly of her close friends which she think is cool.
At the moment, Ictooicy listens to Clairo, Noname, Smino, Santi, Odunsi, Amaarae, to be just a few. I feel like the Nigerian music scene is doing good right now, but I also feel like it could use more women,” Ictooicy says, ”Women have a lot to offer, we deserve a lot more. I also feel like the music industry has to start opening up to the possibility that there are more genres than just the usual ones most people listen to here. I mean people are fully making amazing music and it’s not as appreciated because it’s not the norm.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies and reading comics and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.