Let me tell you, we have a fire inside. That’s actually hard. So we did more than 10 years of classical music. Instead of complacently following rap trends, Rico’s music is hard, strong, and bold, and it is exactly what we need on the music scene.
RICO NASTY – Here’s What It’s Like To Get Ready With Rico Nasty
Do you want to see a picture of my car?” Maria-Cecilia Simone Kelly, aka Rico Nasty, aka Tacobella, aka Trap Lavigne, reaches over the table and starts scrolling through the thousands of photos on her phone at lightning speed. Lisa: And then the American election happened the first day we recorded the first song. The first day Trump got elected, we recorded Ash and “Away Away.” That same day. ‘Cause we were at the studio and it was our first day off studio and he got elected, and we were like, Well now we have no choice.” We have no choice but to reflect how we felt and that’s what we felt, but it was so, I always say, Those songs were made for us,” we needed them. We needed to feel “Deathless,” we needed “No Man Is Big Enough For My Arms,” we needed “Away Away.” We needed that chance, we needed that strength and that power.
That’s actually hard. I feel like I just got to go in a booth and get a feel for the song and whatever like comes out. ‘Cause usually when I sing I play the beat first and I’ll just start like feeling it if it’s like a R&B vibey beat. But a lot of times I can’t make up my mind and I do both. So a lot of times I might say sing on the hook, rap on the verses, or sing on one verse and rap on the next verse. That’s really my sound.
Hometown shows were always nerve wracking, because there’s a lot of people you know, but it’s also great because everyone’s on your side, everyone’s like eager for you to succeed and have fun, and yeah, it felt good.
My fans know that they empower me. When I was on tour, every time I meet them? Genuine connections. I find strength in them because they tell me the shit that they be going through in their own lives and they still make it to the show, still look beautiful, still did their hair. They literally got up, got fucking dressed, despite all the shit they’re going through, just to come to my fucking show. Just to stand around, get pushed and thrown around. I love that. That’s why I’ve never missed a show.
Lisa: Exactly. It’s really intuitive. Also sometimes it’s just a desire. I’m like, “Oh, I want to write a song in Spanish.” And then suddenly, I sit and when I try to write in Spanish, but I think, yeah, it’s a lot more intuitive than what people think. Of course, it’s a lot of work after that. ‘Cause once you kind of feel that, “Okay, that’s how I feel. Oh there’s some Spanish words or English words or French words that are coming out of my mouth,” that you really need to work on them, and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. But I think the start of it is always really intuitive.
You can also make ugly beautiful. Everything Jazelle stands for is so liberating. Sometimes I’ll give myself a bloody nose, sometimes I’ll take my eyebrows away, sometimes I’ll draw shit on my eyebrows. Sometimes I feel like it draws away from the real shit that I’m insecure about. For me, that’s probably my nose and my eyelids—once I started doing makeup, I wished I had bigger eyelids. I know, it’s fucking weird. But my best friend has eyelids like Cher—the sunken in kind—and it’s like a big canvas. With makeup, I can get bigger lids. The more I’ve gotten into it, the more I learn that it’s about whatever makes you comfortable.
Rico has had a stellar year, so much so that it feels like her star has gotten exponentially brighter since she dropped Nasty a mere four months ago. This success is no doubt thanks to her devoted fan base, whose support of the rapper has culminated in impressive attendance at her concerts nationwide. For young women of color who idolize Rico — maybe because she reminds them of women in their own life, maybe because she represents someone they wish they had — her mosh pits are just one of the many ways her music gives women the space to address their mental health, providing a release and display of anger that’s not often alotted to women — let alone women of color.
Lisa: For me it’s the album of her career. I mean, until now. Really, it’s like the album that embodies everything she represents and how important she is for America. For black women. For women in the world. And then we saw her at Coachella, and then she came to see a piece of our set at Coachella. She was on the side of the stage. So it feels like, there’s always little hint that she’s following still where we’re going.
In their signature blue and gold jumpsuits, Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz, daughters of the late, great Anga Diaz from Irakere and Buena Vista Social Club, energetically dazzled the crowd with their echanting mix of Afro-Cuban roots music, soul, hip-hop, synth beats and Yoruba, English and Spanish.
That’s the kind of journey we wanted the music to take the listener on! We start with these angry songs and by the end of it, Rico is singing in Auto-Tune about needing a second chance and she’s bringing back that softer sugar trap sound. It’s like she has transitioned through a temper tantrum and found inner peace.” Anger Management has proven to be one of 2019’s most essential albums, helping process our collective pain in a way that’s healthy, and where we can come out on the other side smiling.
When Rico talks about growing up, she often describes being ostracized for her unusual interests and style. Now that she is in public eye, a lot of her stylistic and musical choices are key to her identity as an artist. More importantly, they set her apart from her competition and give her a unique edge that keeps me and countless other fans crawling back for more.
Rico Nasty performs during the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival. Rico Nasty has been played over 50 times on NTS, first on 23 May 2017. Rico Nasty’s music has been featured on 51 episodes. Rico has a handle on the importance of sparing young women feelings of alienation, as evidenced by her highly interactive sets.
Once again, it’s like history. Legendary sht, because three girls on it. That’s how I feel about it. Love, bro, I love it. It’s never-before-seen, just like everything else that we doing. The song was also featured on Kelly’s fifth tape, Sugar Trap 2, which Rolling Stone listed as one of 2017’s best Rap Albums.
You can expect the best of me on the album. In my rapping, my singing realm I’m finding my balance. I think for a long time I couldn’t figure out if I was a rapper or singer. I think this next album is just letting the world know I do both and I do them both equally as good. I’m fittin’ to have your favorite rappers on that and your favorite singers on there.
You know what? I just really wanted to get back in the studio by myself. I felt like I had so many people dictating what type of music I was making, and what to talk about, and who to work with. I just really wanted to zone out by myself and see what I could do by myself. No writers, just me and the music. So that’s what inspired Big Dreez. Especially me feeling like I’m coming into the artist that I’ve always been trying to be. So I feel like I’m bigger now.
Really what keeps me going, girl, besides the bills, just I want to reach my ultimate happiness, happy space in life, and I feel like I have to grind to get there, to get everything that I want and I’m not satisfied. I’m from Chicago so we always had to learn how to survive to be able to be on top. So I think just being counted out, you know what I’m saying, not getting a credit, the recognition I deserve. I just want my music to be respected and seen on a bigger platform.
From the get-go, Anger Management finds Rico Nasty with the pedal on the floor. After all, the album promises the energy of a temper tantrum. She’s pure gas on album opener Cold.” She does it all on this song: Talking shit over yet another face-melting beat from Kenny Beats, she raps aggressively and she screams. A lot. It’s refreshing. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a rap album with a sound quite like this, and I especially don’t think I’ve heard one poised to sustain this type of energy over the full runtime. Rico Nasty attempts to do just that on this album, but that may be because it barely clocks in at 19 minutes in length. It’s short, sweet and to the point, but that might turn out to be too good to be true.
The follow-up ‘Anger Management’ dropped in April 2019 as a result of a five-day studio binge. It is fronted by an album cover created by Keith Rankin (aka Giant Claw) inspired by the 70s’ psychology-book ‘The New Primal Scream’, and has received accolades all-round, which also saw her perform at Coachella. Born Maria-Cecilia Simone Kelly, she grew up in Maryland being exposed to rap music from an early age.
Rico Nasty cares about her audience. I’ve never had a fan make me feel uncomfortable,” she promises. I feel like we could be friends!” None of the often-disparaging associations some corners of Twitter has about SoundCloud stick; I’ve always had hella love for SoundCloud,” she explains. Rico’s fans, her hardcore Stans, however, come from YouTube, which she prides herself on.
Continuing the electric guitar trend, Nasty chucks her middle fingers up, letting her bank account speak for itself on In the Air.” Linking with Shoot” rapper BlocBoy JB, Nasty keeps the extension on her, daring someone to snatch her funds.