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Ice Spice Producer RIOTUSA: ‘We’re Working on Her Debut Album as We Speak’ 

In the span of just two years, RIOTUSA has become one of the industry’s in-demand producers — thanks to his hitmaking prowess with friend and best new artist Grammy nominee Ice Spice.

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RIOT, who started making beats at 10 years old on GarageBand, began producing songs with Ice Spice in 2021. Then the dynamic duo hit the ground running the next year with the TikTok-trending drill song “Munch (Feelin’ U).” Co-signed by Drake, the single was later certified gold. Next to arrive was Ice Spice’s 2023 EP Like..? Executive produced by RIOT, the project peaked at No. 5 on Billboard‘s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It also spun off two more hits, “In Ha Mood” and “Gangsta Boo” featuring Lil Tjay, the latter of which became Ice Spice’s first Hot 100 entry.

The creative rapport between RIOT and Ice Spice has since yielded several more Hot 100 success stories. Those include Taylor Swift’s “Karma” remix featuring Ice Spice (No. 2) and co-written by RIOT as well as the RIOT-produced “Princess Diana” by Ice Spice and Nicki Minaj (No. 4). RIOTUSA also produced Ice Spice and Minaj’s second teaming on “Barbie World” with Aqua from Barbie: The Album. Debuting at No. 7 on the Hot 100 and also claiming No. 1 on the Rhythmic Airplay chart, the song is a current Grammy nominee in two categories: best rap song and best song written for visual media. “Karma” is also a best pop duo/group performance nominee.

New York native RIOTUSA, who signed a publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music this past summer, joined Billboard for a conversation on Threads. Here are some soundbites from the live Q&A session on Dec. 13.

On what his music appearing on the Billboard charts means to him and his career:

It’s a blessing fr (for real). Billboard helped me understand how big the records I work on really are. It reminds you [that] hard work pays off. When I saw I was the No. 1 rap producer, I felt honored and grateful.”

On how he and Ice Spice met: 

“We met in school [State University of New York Purchase] back in 2019. We had mutual high school friends and started hanging in the same circles.”

On what it’s like recording with Ice Spice in the studio:

“It’s a fun time because she really be saying how she feels in that moment … from picking out vibes or punching in lyrics on the spot.”

On working with Nicki Minaj for “Princess Diana” and “Barbie World”:

“Nicki is a legend, icon. She was so cool in person and welcomed me into her creative space. When I found out she was getting on ‘Princess Diana,’ I knew it was lit. But then finding out about ‘Barbie World’ with Ice too? I was like nah, this is New York City.”

On his other music idols and inspirations:

“Drake, Pop Smoke, Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi Vert, Tyler, the Creator, Young Thug, Ye.”

On some of the artists he’s currently working with:

“Ken [Carson], Lil Yachty, Scheck Wes.”

On what fans just discovering his music should know about him and expect from future releases:

“Fans should know I produce and record too, so look out for my music. Also look out for new classics with Ice in 2024. We’re working on her debut album as we speak.”

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