The Orioles have the worst record in baseball, the Ravens are going to lose Ozzie Newsome as GM and the USMNT didn’t even qualify for the World Cup. It’s a tough time to be a Maryland resident, seeing everyone else doing well while your home teams are struggling.
Luckily, there’s no shortage of Maryland musical talent to support. Just in 2018 we’ve seen releases by established acts like Beach House, projects by newer talent like JPEGMAFIA and Snail Mail and the first waves from up-and-comers like YBN Cordae.
Most recently, Rico Nasty dropped her major-label debut, Nasty, and seriously put herself in contention for the next big thing to come out of Maryland.
Nasty is 14 tracks long, but with 12 of them under three minutes, the mixtape clocks in at a little more than half an hour. Despite the short run time, Rico Nasty is more than able to showcase the versatility that makes her such an exciting figure in the rap game.
Each of the first four tracks is more aggressive than the last, which is an impressive feat considering how in-your-face it starts out.
“Bitch I’m nasty, and I don’t give a fuck like, what is classy/ Smokin’ on cat pee and my voice is raspy,” she half-yells on the opener “Bitch I’m Nasty.”
After this opening sequence, the tempo slows down for six tracks, with the song “Ice Cream” stealing the show. Kenny Beats flips the classic ice cream truck jingle into an infectious beat, and somehow Rico doesn’t sound out of place rapping over it.
The last four tracks alternate between slow and up-tempo. First we get “Transformer,” which features a verse from Lil Gnar that sounds like XXXTentacion’s “Look At Me!” the way he hoarsely screams into the mic.
Then it’s “Why Oh Why,” which harks back to the Lil Yachty-esque “Hey Arnold” that first propelled Rico into the mainstream. “Why Oh Why” isn’t sing-songy, it’s just sung. And it’s sung well, with a catchy, upbeat sound that masks the more somber lyrics discussing Rico’s disillusionment with fame.
Rico turns it up to 11 one last time on “Rage,” the second-to-last track, where she just rages for a little over 2 minutes.
“My bitches ragin’ and blackin’ out/ Keep my name out your fucking mouth/ Before you find out what we about,” she raps on the fury-filled second verse of the aptly named song.
“Lala,” which closes out the mixtape, is easily the worst song on the project. Its depressive, apathetic sound is different than anything else on here, and an odd choice to cap it off.
Out of the 14 tracks on Nasty, the six produced by Kenny Beats stand head and shoulders above the rest. The two work so well together that I’m elated at the prospect of a full collaboration tape between them, which would certainly be the best rapper-producer collab project since Madvillainy.
More than anything, Rico Nasty proves on Nasty that she’s not just a good female rapper or a good artist from the DMV — she’s a talented musician, plain and simple, no qualifiers needed. It’s always nice to see a hometown hero win.