Rico Nasty

Maria-Cecilia Simone Kelly[1] (born May 7, 1997),[2][3] known professionally as Rico Nasty, is an American rapper and singer from Maryland. Known for her unique delivery and punk aesthetic, she rose to prominence in 2018 with singles such as "Smack a Bitch" and "Pussy Poppin".[4][5][6][7][8][9]

Rico Nasty
Kelly in 2019
Kelly in 2019
Background information
Birth nameMaria-Cecilia Simone Kelly
Born (1997-05-07) May 7, 1997 (age 24)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
OriginPalmer Park, Maryland, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
Years active2014–present
LabelsAtlantic
Associated actsKenny Beats
Children1
Websitericonastymusic.com

While in high school, Rico Nasty began self-releasing content in 2014 and had released five solo mixtapes by late 2017. She gained a local, underground following with SoundCloud singles such as "iCarly" and "Hey Arnold". After gaining wider recognition in 2018, she signed to Atlantic Records where she released her fifth mixtape, Nasty (2018). This was followed by the collaborative mixtape Anger Management (2019) with long time associate Kenny Beats. Rico Nasty's debut studio album, Nightmare Vacation, was released in December 2020. Rico's seventh mixtape, Rx, is set to release in the summer of 2021.

Early lifeEdit

Maria-Cecilia Simone Kelly was born an only child.[10] to a Puerto Rican mother and an African American father[1][11][12] who was a rapper[13] and exposed her to rap music at a very young age.[citation needed] She was raised in various locations including Prince George's County, Maryland,[13] New York, Virginia,[14] and Washington, D.C..[13]

At age 11 she and her mother moved to Palmer Park, Maryland.[10] When she was in the sixth grade her mother enrolled her in a Baltimore boarding school.[10][13] At 14 she was expelled for smoking marijuana.[15][13] She then attended Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Prince George's County[12] where she began making music.[13]

At age 15 her father was sent to prison[13] and her parents divorced.[10]

CareerEdit

2014–2017: Career beginnings and early mixtapesEdit

Rico started rapping in high school and released her first mixtape, Summer's Eve (2014), when she was in tenth grade at Charles Herbert Flowers High School.[9][15] After graduating from high school, she started focusing on her music career and released two mixtapes in 2016: The Rico Story and Sugar Trap. Rico Nasty gained some prominence with her 2016 single "iCarly" which amassed over 500 thousand views on YouTube within months.[15][4] She also released the single "Hey Arnold," which was later remixed featuring Atlanta rapper Lil Yachty.[16] The duo would later link again in 2017 for the single "Mamacita" as part of The Fate of the Furious: The Album soundtrack.[4][17]

In May 2017, Rico Nasty released her fourth mixtape, Tales of Tacobella, which is her earliest commercially available release as of September 2020.[18][19] Kyann-Sian Williams of NME described the mixtape as "otherworldly and synth-heavy" and noted that the mixtape proved Rico's singing abilities.[20] In June 2017, Kelly released her single "Poppin" which quickly garnered over five million views on YouTube.[1] The single was also featured on the HBO television series Insecure.[21] Kelly's fifth mixtape Sugar Trap 2 was released in October 2017 and featured an appearance from rapper Famous Dex.[22] Critics of Rolling Stone listed the mixtape as one of the Best Rap Albums of 2017.[23] Rico embarked on the Sugar Trap Tour in late 2017.[24]

2018–2019: Nasty and Anger ManagementEdit

The singles "Smack A Bitch", "Poppin" and "Key Lime OG" gained prominence in early 2018; all of them meeting and exceeding 10 million YouTube views in that year.[25] The former two songs additionally gained some popularity on the video-sharing platform TikTok after being used in various memes.[26][27] "Smack A Bitch" was also ranked at No. 2 on The Fader's list of "The 100 Best Songs of 2018".[28] The aforementioned influx of popularity helped Rico Nasty catch the attention of Atlantic Records, where she signed and released her sixth mixtape and major-label debut, Nasty, in June 2018.[29][7] The mixtape was generally well received and landed on critics lists of publications such as Rolling Stone,[30] Pitchfork,[31] Stereogum,[32] Noisey,[33] Fact,[34] and Spin,[35] among several others. The mixtape's tracks, "Bitch I'm Nasty", "Countin' Up" and "Rage", were also ranked on lists of the best songs of 2018 by Paper, Highsnobiety and Pitchfork respectively.[36][37][38] In late July, Rico Nasty embarked on her headlining The Nasty Tour to support the mixtape, playing twenty-seven different venues across North America over six weeks and completing the tour in early September.[39]

Rico Nasty released the non-album singles and respective music videos for "Guap (LaLaLa)" in December 2019,[40] as well as "Roof" in January 2019.[41] She followed them up with several more non-album singles in early 2019 such as "Sandy",[42] "Party Goin Dumb",[43] "Big Dick Energy",[44] "Hit That",[45] and "Wanna Do".[46] In April 2019, Rico Nasty and producer Kenny Beats supported singer Khalid during the opening night of the Free Spirit World Tour.[47] Rico Nasty made the cover of The Fader for their Summer 2018 issue,[13][48] and was the subject of a documentary produced by the publication titled Countin' Up.[49][50]

In April 2019, Rico and producer Kenny Beats released the collaborative mixtape, Anger Management, as a surprise release.[51] The mixtape received critical acclaim and made the critics' lists of several publications including Complex,[52] Rolling Stone,[53] Stereogum,[54] Noisey,[55] Billboard,[56] NME,[57] and Crack.[58] Anger Management is arguably Rico Nasty's most successful release to date, both commercially and critically.[59] In April 2019, Rico Nasty performed at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival for the first time in her career.[60] To support the record, Rico embarked on her "Live in Europe" tour starting in late May and ending in mid July.[61] In June 2019, XXL announced that Rico Nasty was part of their XXL Freshman Class of 2019.[62] She performed at New York Fashion Week in September 2019 and subsequently released the single, "Fashion Week".[63] Rico Nasty also performed as a headlining act at Rolling Loud in New York in October 2019.[64]

2020: Nightmare VacationEdit

Rico Nasty provided the original song "My Little Alien" to the soundtrack for the 2020 film Scoob! in May 2020.[65] In June 2020, her single "Smack a Bitch" (2017) was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling over 500,000 units in the United States.[66] In June 2020, Rico Nasty also released the single, "Dirty", as part of the original soundtrack for the HBO television series Insecure.[67] On August 7, 2020, Rico Nasty appeared alongside Colombian-American singer Kali Uchis on the song, "Aquí Yo Mando", which served as the lead single from Uchis' second studio album, Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) (2020).[68]

On August 13, 2020, Rico Nasty released the single "iPhone" as the lead single of her debut studio album, Nightmare Vacation.[69] On the same day, she announced that she would be collaborating with makeup brand Il Makiage on a new makeup line.[70] Rico Nasty made the front cover of British music magazine NME in September 2020.[20] Rico Nasty released "Own It" as the second single from Nightmare Vacation on September 17.[71] In October 2020 she became an ambassador for Rihanna's lingerie brand Savage X Fenty,[72] and made a cameo appearance in the Savage X Fenty Show: Vol 2.[73][74] A few days later, Rico Nasty engaged in a social media campaign with children's TV mascot Hip Hop Harry and Atlantic Records to encourage the general public to vote in the 2020 United States presidential election.[75] She released the song "Don't Like Me" featuring rappers Don Toliver and Gucci Mane as the third single off of Nightmare Vacation.[76] In November 2020, "OHFR?" was released as the fourth single from the album,[77] as Rico Nasty revealed its release date and album cover on the same day.[78] She also released a visual trailer for the album in November 2020.[79] Rico Nasty revealed the tracklist on December 1,[80] before the album was officially released on December 4.[81][82] The release of Nightmare Vacation coincided with the release of its fifth single, "STFU".[83] In January 2021, Rico Nasty made her television debut when she performed "OHFR?" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.[84][85]

2021: RxEdit

On May 29, 2021, Rico Nasty announced her upcoming seventh mixtape, Rx, on her social media platforms by revealing teaser art designed by Karli Fetz.[86]

On June 17, 2021, Rico Nasty joined Little Bacon Bear for a casual, interview-style conversation presented by GRAMMY U. Rico disclosed more details about the anticipated mixtape, including that it spans seven tracks, employs Dylan Brady of 100 Gecs as a co-producer, and features Flo Milli and G Herbo.[87][88]

Artistry and public imageEdit

Genres and "sugar trap"Edit

Rico Nasty is known for performing hip hop music and trap music, particularly styles such as punk rap,[8][89][90][91][92] trap metal,[62][93][94][95] nu metal,[96][97][98] pop-trap,[96][99][98] SoundCloud rap,[100][101] and rap rock.[102] She is known for her "aggressive, cutthroat flow"[95] as well as her "spiky style and raspy delivery".[9] Rico Nasty told NME that she "resonate[s] with being a pop-punk princess."[20]

Rico Nasty coined the term "sugar trap" early in her career and has used it as the title of her independent record label as well as two of her mixtapes.[103][6] Musically, the term has simply been described as "bubbly, upbeat rap"[13] as well as "singing and trap rapping".[104] Lawrence Burney of Noisey noted that sugar trap is "markedly upbeat, bubbly, and self-loving, no matter her chosen delivery",[4] while Kyann-Sian Williams of NME described it as a blend of "hardcore, gruff vocals" and "grungy hooks with softer, computerised beats".[20] Rico Nasty has said that sugar trap has "soft, beautiful, melodic, flowy vibes" as well as elements of "trap music like Chicago drill music, Atlanta trap music, Memphis trap music, little bit of California trap music. I mix everything. If the sound catches my ear, I mix it."[105] She has also described "sugar trap" metaphorically as "a headspace", "a way of fashion" and "a way of life".[106] She also described the term as a "metaphorical place", saying "It's like when you have a really, really bad life and shit good starts happening and you don't know how to adapt to the good shit."[4] In April 2018, Rico Nasty officially trademarked the term "sugar trap".[107]

InfluencesEdit

Musically, Rico Nasty has cited Joan Jett, Avril Lavigne and Rihanna as her biggest influences.[9][108][109][110] She herself has been named as an influence for Flo Milli,[111] and ppcocaine.[112]

Alter egos and appearanceEdit

Rico Nasty's use of alter egos and personas in her music have varied throughout her career. These include "Tacobella" (a "vulnerable, sensitive persona"), and "Trap Lavigne", which is inspired by Avril Lavigne.[18][13][113][109] Rico Nasty told NME that her personas are inspired by David Bowie, Tyler, the Creator, and Nicki Minaj."[20]

Rico Nasty is known for her unique style in punk fashion.[114][115][10][116][117] Kyle Munzenrieder of the American fashion magazine W has described her as a "maximalist fashion icon".[118] Kyann-Sian Williams of NME wrote, "With her androgynous nature and outlandish style, Rico has been an icon for outcasts for years."[20]

ReceptionEdit

In October 2019, Thomas Hobbs of Dazed wrote,[8]

With a look that sits somewhere between Harley Quinn and Siouxsie Sioux, [Rico Nasty]'s aesthetic is proudly nonconformist, while her raspy drawl – which frequently transitions into passionate, cathartic screams – has just as much in common with post-punk bands like The Raincoats as it does hip hop artists like City Girls. Rico's voice feels at once strong and vulnerable as she drains every last bit of emotion out of her vocal cords. When she spits, you feel it in the pit of your stomach – vengeful songs like "Smack a Bitch" and "Roof" recall the raw firecracker energy of emcees like DMX and Sticky Fingaz, albeit with rainbow-coloured nails and deliriously camp make-up. For Rico, traditional notions of femininity and masculinity are two sides of the same coin, and she'll often channel both within the same song, moving quickly from being overwhelmed by emotion to being ready to smack you right in the face.

Personal lifeEdit

At age 18, Rico Nasty gave birth to her first and only child, a son named Cameron.[10] The child's father, Brandon, died of an asthma attack while Rico was in her senior year of high school.[4][20] As she began gaining attention with her music, she quit her job as a hospital receptionist, while her manager, Malik Foxx, began buying production equipment.[13] Rico Nasty revealed to The Fader that Foxx is "the only father figure that Cameron has ever known."[13]

DiscographyEdit

FilmographyEdit

Short filmsEdit

Year Title Role Publication Director Ref.
2019 Countin' Up Herself The Fader Orian Barki [119]
2020 Swipe Night Tinder Karena Evans [120]
Savage X Fenty Show: Volume Two Amazon Studios Rihanna [74]

Concert toursEdit

Headlining

  • The Sugar Trap Tour (2017)[24]
  • The Nasty Tour (2018)[39]
  • Live in Europe (2019)[61][121]

Supporting

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit