Rico Nasty

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Blending bubblegum and bullets like a hardcore Powerpuff Girl, Washington, D.C.-area rapper Rico Nasty weaves hip-hop with her self-described “sugar trap” aesthetic. Building upon the buzz of her early mixtapes and songs like 2017′s “Poppin” and 2018′s “Smack a Bitch,” Rico released her 2020 debut studio album, Nightmare Vacation.
Born Maria Kelly in Largo, Maryland, she started rhyming with poetry, which later led to rap. Her early tracks — “Hey Arnold,” “iCarly,” and “Iggady [Remix]” — helped her develop an underground following, and she would go on to release mixtapes like Sugar Trap and The Rico Story. A collaborative EP with fellow DMV native Tino Loud titled Cuffin Season arrived in 2016. When Lil Yachty hopped on a remix of “Hey Arnold” that same year, it helped propel Rico toward an even larger audience. She returned the favor on “Mamacita,” which was included on the Fate of the Furious soundtrack. In 2017, she issued the Tales of Tacobella and Sugar Trap 2 mixtapes. Continuing her prolific run, she released Nasty in 2018. The set featured Blocboy JB on “In the Air” and Lil Gnar on “Transformer.” A 2019 collaborative mixtape, Anger Management, saw Rico working with Kenny Beats and also featured Baauer and EarthGang. That same year, she also released stand-alone singles like “Guap (LaLaLa),” “Time Flies,” and “Fashion Week.”
More singles arrived in early 2020, including “iPhone,” “Own It,” and “Don’t Like Me,” paving the way for Rico Nasty’s debut studio album, Nightmare Vacation. Released in December 2020, it featured guest appearances by Trippie Redd, Aminé, Gucci Mane, and others. 2021 saw Rico issue the singles “Magic” and the hard-hitting Menoh Beats-produced “Buss.” She kicked off 2022 with the Bktherula-assisted track “Vaderz.” ~ Neil Z. Yeung