Permit your self to fall right into a Lisa Frank-esque daydream with all of the fixings—the full-spectrum palette, the whimsical creatures, and the cutesy big-eyed characters that lived on the pocket book of many a Gen Y and Z lady. Now, “lure” it out. You’ve tapped into the essence of the artist referred to as 504icygrl. Self-styled sugar lure “CEO” Ariel Riley speaks to the would-be hustler in all of us. To outline her as a rapper alone would downplay her physique of labor.
This writer had the possibility to talk to the artist throughout considered one of her month-to-month jaunts again to town. Riley is a twin citizen of L.A. and Louisiana. However as her moniker and the iced-out chain on her neck point out, she’s 504 for all times. On this gentle July day—Louisiana gentle anyway—she’s traded her signature lengthy, darkish locks for even longer braids and her pastel pink garb for a extra laid-back, athletic look. Her delicate, pleasant smile radiates in stark distinction to her tougher picture. Although she “ain’t even 5’4,” the Aries artist has a presence.
That adage that huge issues are available small packages rings true right here. Along with her contemporary BUKU booking, upcoming sophomore album The Princess Diaries, and her personal hashish model on the West Coast, the 23-year-old CEO’s attain is way from petite—although her profession is on the shorter finish. Her debut EP Entice Etiquette dropped solely two years in the past and her debut album Zazaland final yr. Whereas rap is a current acquaintance for Riley, the rap recreation isn’t. Her longtime associate, Poppy (to not be confused with the nu-metal singer), was with Money Cash earlier than they shaped their label, 504 Exotics.
“He was signed to Lil Wayne, and I used to be all the time round…within the nook simply watching,” recounts Riley. “[I was thinking] like ‘I need to do this, however I’m too scared,’ nevertheless it was all the time one thing behind my head.” It’d’ve stayed there had she not been visited by artwork’s most potent muse: heartbreak. She and Poppy separated for some time in Los Angeles. “[Rapping] grew to become part of me venting and changing into my very own particular person.”
Riley factors at a little bit tattoo on her left cheek—her stage title in funky print and haloed. She explains that it’s a memento from her very first efficiency. “It was at a tattoo celebration. They didn’t actually have a stage…I carried out on high of the bar ’trigger I’m actually small,” Riley recollects. “This was my dedication that that is what I’m doing for the remainder of my life.” She “was stamped at that time” actually and figuratively.
Although Riley and her associate have severed ties with the Money Cash label, she says that the Younger Cash crew—Nicki Minaj particularly—and others like Rico Nasty wrote her rap primer. With bars the place she compares her “good palms” to Allstate’s, she’s evidently inherited the wordplay of her musical foremothers. Removed from being spinoff, NOLA’s icygrl has carved out a lane of her personal that turns gender roles on its head. Whereas weed, girls, and weapons are the stomping grounds of the common male rapper, she’s taken them, extracted the masculine, and infused them along with her distinctive model of feminine empowerment.
However balancing followers’ expectations and her actuality hasn’t been straightforward.
“Generally folks need me to make that conventional feminine rap music…twerking and raunchiness. That’s actually not the kind of music I make. I actually attempt to make lure music and shit that I’ve been by, so it’s (expectations) sort of arduous for me to navigate,” Riley admits. “I really feel prefer it’s a bunch of pulling from each which manner.”
On the finish of the day, she declares, “That is me, interval. Take it or go away it.”
Riley belongs to the rising technology of artists intent on making New Orleans take over for the 2000 (and ’20s). Regardless of their variations in musical method, she stresses that the ladies of New Orleans rap are “out right here killing it.” Maybe for this reason October’s Princess Diaries might be a largely feminine manufacturing, although Riley’s nonetheless ironing out the options. The artist is aware of feminine producers are few and much between, so she “may be compelled to have one or two male producers.” With this launch, the icygrl hopes to advertise unity and development inside the metropolis’s community of expertise.
With August 15’s microfest, Kruel Summer season, and mixers deliberate for later this yr, Riley resolves to do her half in (re)constructing bridges within the hip hop group. “We’re lacking bridges to get to the following degree. Lots of people right here get so huge, they usually get caught as a result of they don’t know the place to go to subsequent.”