• Yahli Livni

In Anticipation for Her Upcoming Album: 4 Rico Nasty Songs that Changed the Game

Whether you know her or not, Rico Nasty’s impact has been like a shotgun blast to underground culture. Ever since her start as the edgier artist in the fleeting wave of bubblegum trap (2015-2016), Rico continues to embody explosive energy in both her fashion and music.

With one foot in the internet’s tumblr-adjacent scene, and the other in the weirdo trap world, Rico’s enigma has impacted so much of what underground music and culture is. Her constant exploration of new sounds is an iconic example for underground artists, especially women, who get pigeonholed by their critics and audiences.

Her upcoming debut studio album Nightmare Vacation is slated to release by the end of 2020, so this is the perfect time to check out some of Rico’s songs that changed the game!

1: “IPHONE” (2020)

When this Dylan Brady (one half of the group 100 gecs) produced hit was teased back in November of 2019, fans went crazy. It was coming hot after Rico’s incredible verse on 100 gecs’ “Ringtone Remix” which caught our ears and made us curious for more. What other futuristic production could Rico dip her toes into?

“IPHONE” is like nothing I have ever heard before. Its hyperpop backdrop pairs perfectly with Rico’s singing and melodic screeching. And despite this being a completely new take on her pop-punk aesthetic, it still feels so familiar to hear those distorted guitars and unmistakable ad-lib “WOAH!”

2: “Trust Issues” (2018)

This was the first Rico song that really caught my ear. Rap is known for hard hitting 808s, drums, and bass that knocks you right in the chest. I love that feeling. And don't get me wrong, “Trust Issues” has the hardest hitting drums. But the way Rico’s voice came in on this song caught me off guard. It's incredibly misleading to feel like you’ve already heard everything the song has to offer and then get completely blindsided by the artist herself. Rico sounds effortless in blending familiar pop-punk themes of emotional issues with braggadocious hip-hop lyrics.

“I got a lotta issues, I try not to let 'em show. I got trust issues, don't nobody get too close”

3: “Key Lime OG” (2017)

One of her first big hits, “Key Lime OG” showed the world a confident rapper with the craziest ad-libs ever. This song felt like a freestyle but had Rico screaming words and phrases in the background. Anyone who already had their eye on the bubblegum trap scene made sure to keep a tab on Rico.

In 2016, people really felt like the new wave of rap was going to be silly, colorful, and happy. This scene quickly died out, with Lil Yachty being one of the only artists in it to make a mainstream crossover. But Rico took the best of what made this scene. Her out of this world personality, familiar drum patterns, and just enough confusion to keep fans wondering “what the hell is going to come next?”

4: “Cheat Code” (2019)

“I can never be typical. Don't come out the house unless I'm wearing' something whimsical”

The second song on her Kenny Beats produced project, “Cheat Code” is absolute chaos incarnate. When I initially heard this album, the first song on the album, “Cold,” made me feel like Rico and Kenny had beaten me senseless with metal chairs. I was ready to get up and take a walk after this brutal surprise when suddenly, I realized that I was in a video game, and Rico had transformed into some ghoulish demonic presence. I was trying to get away, but every step Rico took was amplified by Kenny’s kick drum, or bass, or really what felt like an entire orchestra falling through the floor of the stage, turned up to 11.

What I’m trying to express is that Rico creates her own world for the listener to take part in. In all her interviews (and from what other artists say about her) she’s the sweetest person in the world. But her music is the place where she lets it all come out. Sometimes this can feel like the artist is putting on a character, but after listening to “Cheat Code” there is no doubt in my mind that Rico Nasty is in her own world, and we are but characters inside it.

If you liked these songs, I recommend you check out Rico Nasty. Her album Anger Management is my personal favorite, and her new album should be coming out anytime soon. In the meantime, here is a playlist with the featured songs, along with some of my other favorite Rico Nasty appearances.

Yahli Livni

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