For a few years, I have been paying attention to most of the work of one Maryland-born rapper Rico Nasty. Although she has been active since 2014, she has been gaining some attention in more recent years from her assorted mixtapes to features on tracks from artists like Denzel Curry, Lil Yachty, Amine, and Injury Reserve (among others), and she even got big attention in 2019 as one of the upcoming MCs on the 2019 XXL Freshman List. That was a strong year for female rappers with her, Megan Thee Stallion and Tierra Whack on the roster, and yes, all three of them had the best cyphers that year.
She also has a unique style to her music, whether you hear punk-style bangers like her verse on the recent Duke Deuce album Crunkstar and of course with one of the singles for this album, “Black Punk”, or her more melodic side, but she’s not someone who’s boxed into one style. And with this new album Las Ruinas, there’s always something to keep your attention.
Now if you noticed, whenever we talk about a Rico Nasty track on Decibel Boost, she can sometimes go hyperpop on her songs, and I admit the first few times, I wasn’t much of a fan of that, but over time it grew on me. I’ll say that this album has a lot more going for it with her diving into an EDM/club/hyper-pop vibe and man, does it get wild.
The first few tracks like “Intrusive”, “Vaderz” and the aforementioned single “Black Punk” have that aggressive bizarre punk attitude and adrenaline rushing through it (fun fact about “Vaderz”: it was originally going to be called “VaderZim” as in from the cult Nickelodeon show Invader Zim), and the lyrics are her flexing and flossing on how much of a bad bitch she is, and you think that might be a problem but she absolutely sells it.
There’s even moments of her singing in the next couple of songs like “Messy” (featuring Teezo Touchdown and BKTHERULA) and “Phuckin’ Lady.” Also for the latter, I like that she is going into some weird unique EDM production choices that got some dynamic to it. “One on 5” is another example of a song having some interesting production behind it.
I ain’t sorry that I’m not basic
I ain’t sorry that I’m high maintenance
I ain’t sorry that I lack patience
If I want it right now, I’ma take it
Started locked down in the basement
Yeah, I turned ten bands into eighty
I’m always screamin’, “Fuck you, pay me”
Yeah, I’m such a fuckin’ lady
Got a smart mouth, ain’t no debatin’
Probably why I’m not so good at datin’
Not so good at communication
“Gotsta Get Paid” is another song with a familiar vibe as it’s co-produced by electronic-pop duo 100 gecs, whom she collaborated on a loosie or two before. I have to admit, the way that synth goes in the production does have that strong ride-along vibe. Also, Rico got some damn good bars on here, especially with the first verse.
You the type to brag about it, I’m the type to laugh it off
Niggas out herе actin’ super hard, but dicks be super soft
Bitchеs smoke my weed, now she wheezin’ with the COVID cough
Smoke it all or don’t smoke at all, motherfucker
I’m surprised at the track “Watch Your Man” as it’s produced by/features Marshmello aka the electronic producer that hides his face with a marshmallow helmet mask, and I ended up liking the track and the production. Sometimes Marshmello as a producer can make his performers feel anonymous but then again, Rico is the star and he’s the feature, so it ended up working on everyone’s favor. Speaking of appearing as a feature, there’s the next track “Jungle”, but this is the Rico Nasty remix with the original artist being Fred again…. and it is indeed a bop, like this is that track that you’ll hear in the club and go completely wild.
Things do get less aggressive and into more of that hyper-pop style with the rest of the album on tracks like “Dance Scream” and “Skullflower”. “Into the Dark” still has that punk sound, and the final song “Chicken Nugget” does get very solemn as this is about her son and dedicated to her mom, and it was very sweet and fitting for an ending of the album overall.
I have to say that this album definitely grew on me with many listens to it, and it does what I often like in most hip-hop: While the content might be stagnant sometimes, the way it changes up the production now and then does make it more dynamic and interesting. Rico exudes a lot of energy, personality, brashness and creativity into a project and does it in an reasonable amount of time.
FINAL VERDICT: BUY IT. Hay una joya dentro de las ruinas.
LAS RUINAS is on Sugar Trap/Atlantic Records and is available on CD, digital download and on streaming services.