In 2019, women made hip-hop their own. It was almost impossible not to have heard the term ‘Hot Girl Summer’ in the middle of the year with thanks to 24-year-old Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion. Tierra Whack showed us her creativity and imaginative lyricism in her tracks and Rapsody showed us why she’s one of the most raw and creative lyricists in the rap game. One name who also managed to make waves throughout the hip-hop world with her raspy delivery and braggadocious lyricism is none other than Rico Nasty.
Born Maria-Cecilia Simone Kelly, the Maryland rapper came out of her shell back in 2018 with the release of her debut album ‘Nasty’, featuring tracks like ‘Countin’ Up’, ‘In The Air’ which features Memphis rapper Blocboy JB and the heavy-hitting ‘Rage.’ The 22-year-old has earned plaudits from the likes of Rihanna, A$AP Rocky and Lil Yatchy, the latter of which really kick-started her career with a personal shoutout and an invite to appear on stage with him and was also hand picked by Rihanna herself to walk in her SavageXFenty runway show in New York in September.
There’s something so special about Rico and her rise to fame, getting to the top wasn’t the easiest path to get to. Through her music, it would be hard to pick out the fact that Rico is a mother of one. After Rico graduated high school, she had her son Cameron when she was 18 but just a few months before baby Cameron was due, Rico’s boyfriend Brandon unexpectedly passed away due after suffering a severe asthma attack.
In a feature interview with The Fader, Rico expressed how the passing of Brandon made her feel alone and receiving condolences from people at her school made her feel even worse. “I had to look [people] in their faces and say, ‘Yeah, thanks,’ when people would say ‘Sorry for your loss,’ like they knew what it felt like,” she says. “It made me cringe. I wish you were sorry for my loss. I wish you felt this.”
On Rico’s 2017 project Tales of Tacobella, the track ‘Brandon’, which features a sample of Vanessa Carlton’s classic ‘A Thousand Miles’, was named after him and acts as a tribute to his memory. A certainly emotionally-charged number, Rico’s lyricism stands out with the chorus “They say time heals pain / But mine still ain’t gone,” she sings. The track is juxtaposed with Rico’s words of pride and encouragement to herself Remember rappin’ in my mirror, I got fans now / Remember starin’ at my ceilin’ ’bout to crash out / God sent me a signal, go get ’em, go get it, I’m winnin’ / ‘You hatin’, I get it, won’t stop ’til I’m finished’
Since the release of ‘Nasty’, Rico Nasty and Kenny Beats have proved themselves as a force to be reckoned with – she has one of the most exciting, fresh hip hop producers on the scene in her corner as both a close friend and frequent collaborator. This is most evident on their acclaimed collab album ‘Anger Management’, which also draws on the talents of fellow BBE/FOMO fam members Baauer and EarthGang on tracks ‘Cheat Code’ and ‘Big Titties’.
It’s certainly been a wild ride for Rico Nasty and she’s shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Be sure to catch her debut Australian tour ONLY at #FOMO2020.