At just 23-years old, shapeshifting sugar trap queen Rico Nasty has already established herself as a singular artist and certified rap heavyweight, through six mixtapes that showcase her raucous fusion of hip hop, nu metal, punk and trap. Debut album ‘Nightmare Vacation’ sees Nasty refine her thrilling sound, without ever diluting it. It’s organised chaos, underpinned by a fearless, unshakeable self-confidence.
Project opener ‘Candy’ sets the tone, with Rico flexing unapologetically above a neck-breaking bassline. “Came from the trenches but the shoes I got are from Italy” is both a money-splurging boast, and a nod to her incredible journey so far.
The sensational vibe switch between ‘Check Me Out’ and ‘IPHONE’ is what makes Rico such an exciting artist to listen to. The former is Nasty at her growling, raspy best. “I’m the big bad wolf” she snarls over cartoonishly villainous keys. The latter is intergalactic, super-sour bubblegum pop. Her helium-distorted vocals and Dylan Brady’s metallic synths are an intoxicating mix.
Rico’s flow reverts to frenetic and forceful on cuts like the minimalist, murky ‘STFU’ and riotous ‘Girl Scouts’, which features a half-rapped, half-sung hook that Young Thug would be proud of: “Bitches at your door like girl scouts, I pull up with the choppa then I air it out.” Playful and menacing all at once, it encapsulates Nasty’s distinct energy.
Amine blesses the flute-led ‘Black & Forth’ with a laidback cool that feels positively horizontal when Rico attacks the beat with a beautiful, straight-talking jolt: “Got a smart mouth, I’ma put my kitty in it.” While her delivery on Triple Redd-assisted emo-trap cut ‘Loser’ melts into something a little smoother, without ever losing its unmistakable Nastiness.
Rico recruits ppcocaine, Sukihana and Rubi Rose for the uproarious ‘Smack A Bitch Remix’. The synapse-snapping original established Nasty as a rap powerhouse. It’s hard not to imagine Maryland’s punk-pop princess now presiding over a post-apocalyptic Thunderdome for the updated version, nodding in satisfaction as this brash new generation of rappers devour Kenny Beat’s riff-heavy production. It embodies the project; combative, empowering and unashamedly fun.
Words: Robert Kazandjian
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