Rico Nasty on Being Herself: "You're Not A Wave, You're an Artist"

“I’m really trying to put myself in a box that I don’t go in.”
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Expectations for women in hip-hop run the gamut and are mostly ridiculous. 

In a new interview with Vinyl Me, Please, Sugar Trap queen Rico Nasty detailed how imposing femininity into her music with her Tales of Tacobella project halted her growth as an artist.

“If I would have not just been so afraid to not be cute, that’s really what it was,” Rico said. “I knew I was gonna have a lot of people lookin’ at me and I didn’t want to be that ugly girl. So I conformed and I tried to be cute on purpose. And I tried to give them like this girly aesthetic, and no matter how hard I tried to do that, it felt like school all over again.

“I’m really trying to put myself in a box that I don’t go in; like, you don’t fit there, your voice don’t sound good like that. Like, you sound OK, but you don’t really sound good like that. So, I made ‘Poppin,’ and it was like me literally reminding myself like, ‘Get the fuck up out this, like, you’re not a wave, you’re an artist. You can literally make this shit. You actin’ like you don’t know how to switch flows and switch aesthetics like bitches change they panties.’”

To call Rico Nasty multifaceted would be an understatement. A shape-shifting artist unlike any other, Rico’s proper debut, Nasty, released earlier this year on Atlantic Records, touched on all manner of thrashing punk, trap, and sugar-sweet anthems about being iced out from head to toe. Where on Tales of Tacobella, as Rico herself points out, she was trying desperately to produce one uniform sound, the listlessness of Nasty was its eventual cohesion. Rico Nasty’s evident comfort and confidence gave the project its soul.

The lesson here, of course, is that to be a woman in rap is to actively buck expectations. Rico Nasty and conformity simply do not belong in the same sentence. That resistance is the heart of her artistry. The boxes the industry hopes to place women in are toxic and are breakable. No mold is strong enough to hold Rico Nasty, and now that she knows this in earnest, the world is hers for the taking—bitch. 

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