Azealia Banks Criticizes Ice Spice’s Y2K Album Cover, Drawing Comparisons to Early Nicki Minaj

Azealia Banks critiques Ice Spice’s Y2K album cover, comparing it unfavorably to early Nicki Minaj aesthetics, sparking debate in the music community.

In March 2024, American rapper Ice Spice announced the completion of her new album, “Y2K,” set for release on July 26, 2024. The album title is a nod to her birthdate, January 1, 2000, coinciding with the Y2K era.

On June 5, 2024, Ice Spice unveiled the album cover on Instagram. The cover, designed by renowned photographer David LaChapelle, features Ice Spice posing against a graffiti-covered wall, with the album title displayed on a dustbin. The reaction to the cover art was mixed among fans, but it caught the attention of fellow artist Azealia Banks, who shared her critical perspective on Instagram stories on June 25, 2024.

Azealia Banks, known for her outspoken views on the music industry, didn’t hold back in her critique of the “Barbie World” rapper’s album cover. She stated, “Ice I love you down but you should put the halt button, drop David LaChapelle and redo this.” She further compared the cover to the style of early Nicki Minaj, commenting, “This is like VIM early Nicki Minaj pack weave s**t.”

Banks’s critique extended beyond the cover art itself. She argued that the aesthetic and production of the album did not align with the Y2K theme Ice Spice intended to capture. “Nothing about her album is Y2K performance-wise, production-wise, or aesthetically,” Azealia Banks stated. She pointed out the anachronism in Ice Spice’s styling, referencing brands like Sidekicks and Baby Phat, which were popular post-2002, whereas the true Y2K era spans 1997-2001. Banks also suggested that Ice Spice needed a new hair color and a different facial expression to better fit the Y2K aesthetic. She shared photos of 2000s icons like TLC, Jennifer Lopez, and Aaliyah as examples of authentic Y2K style, asserting, “This is Y2K.”

Ice Spice, who is often compared to Nicki Minaj, had previously expressed gratitude to David LaChapelle for creating the cover art. In a tweet, she thanked him for not charging for the cover and praised him for his “incredible art.” Despite the criticisms, Ice Spice has always been vocal about her admiration for Nicki Minaj. In a January 16, 2023, interview with XXL magazine, she said, “When I saw Nicki, I was so mesmerized. She’s the first female rapper that I seen. And ever since then, I was kinda set on what I wanted to be.”

This isn’t the first time Ice Spice has faced allegations of mimicking Nicki Minaj’s style. On June 18, 2024, she posted a video lip-syncing to her new song “Phat B*tt,” which fans claimed was reminiscent of Nicki Minaj’s flow and styling. Despite the comparisons, Ice Spice has maintained her respect and love for Minaj, with whom she has collaborated on tracks like “Princess Diana” and “Barbie World.”

While Azealia Banks’s criticism has stirred conversation, it’s clear that Ice Spice’s work continues to resonate with her fans and the broader music community. As the release date for “Y2K” approaches, it remains to be seen how Ice Spice will navigate these critiques and the ongoing comparisons to Nicki Minaj. One thing is certain: Ice Spice is making waves and carving out her unique space in the music industry.

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