“She is a real female gladiator,” Bounty Killer said. “When she first went onstage to battle with the boys, nobody knew her, she had no popular song, and the boys were more popular than her. That’s a big thing, that’s not ordinary.”
In 2003, Spice began to tour in the Caribbean, Europe and the United States. That year, she connected with Dave Kelly, a respected dancehall producer, and released “Fight Over Man,” which became a hit. Three years later, she decided to manage herself.
“I felt like I was so creative, and I was the one that was doing the work anyway,” she said. “I started to make music videos, visuals and better things for myself because now I’m building a brand.”
In 2009, “Romping Shop,” her single with another dancehall legend, Vybz Kartel, spent 15 weeks on the Billboard chart. In 2014, she released her debut EP, “So Mi Like It,” which was also a success, reaching No. 14 on Billboard’s reggae album chart. In 2018, she joined the cast of the reality show “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” to gain visibility, she said. Spice had already broken into the American mainstream, but she wanted to “add a face to the sound.”
That same year, she released a mixtape, “Captured,” which reached No. 1 on the reggae albums chart.
“You felt what she was saying because it was done with so much passion and so much conviction and energy behind it, and that’s how she broke through the pack,” said Shaggy, 53, the Grammy Award-winning reggae singer who is the executive producer of “10.” “She is literally embodying everything that she has been taught through Jamaican culture.”
Today, Spice is no longer the nervous girl freestyling at the Sting Festival. Now, when Spice commands the stage, she is in complete control. Her voluptuous body is often strategically covered by custom outfits made of stretchy fabric in vivid colors, which usually match the vibrant blue of her signature wig.
Earlier this year, at a performance at Amazura, a nightclub in Queens, she arrived with a metal suitcase in tow, wearing a pale pink bob wig, a matching leotard and an ankle-length tulle coat to match her thigh-high socks that were decked with fluffy pink feathers. The crowd, aiming their camera phones at her, became a sea of LED lights, bouncing to the rhythm of the heavy dancehall bass playing from the huge speakers.