On “Cash Rules,” Iyla and Method Man face off in a classic she-feels/he-feels duet. Iyla goes from pleading with her lover to rapping ultimatums and accusations. Over playful piano keys, Method Man responds with a verse about being fed up. (He was right: He does “still got it.”) With its silky vocals and tight rhymes, the song is an admirable addition to the canon of hybridized pop-rap love songs.
The single is a logical follow-up to Iyla’s breakout hit, “Juice,” a song about an unexpected and flourishing love. Over a bouncy beat, she sings: “Where did you come from? Like, out the sky into my life now.” Equally out of the blue, the video caught fire on Twitter. “We wanted to play off the unexpected love thing,” Iyla says of the viral clip, “but instead of unexpected love, have the video be all about the unexpected.” This led to scenes of Iyla singing next to a dozen lemons with her thick, red hair brushed completely in front of her face. Trippy scenes set with bright yellows, pastel pinks and burnt oranges somehow matched her distinct voice.
Now, as she prepares for her first headlining tour, Iyla hopes the divergent lyrical narratives of her two EPs connect seamlessly onstage. While her 2018 debut “War + Raindrops” is almost exclusively about broken love, her newest release, “Other Ways To Vent,” finds her singing and rapping through themes of empowerment and self-love, as well as heartbreak. Yet both projects benefit from live instrumentation, with joyful trumpet bursts and melancholy violin riffs aiding her storytelling.
For Iyla, her musical and visual aesthetic is connected. “I want the visuals of the tour to be in line with the music videos,” she says. “I want it to feel like you’re in Iyla-world, but that Iyla-world is all our worlds that we’re living in when we listen to and sing along to this music.”