Rico Nasty makes music that makes people feel comfortable. Its brash juxtaposition of femininity and rage – or power – is the kind of art audiences identify with in the trouble’s of today. It is because the ability to draw from the many extreme poles of our personality was denied or suppressed for far too long.
Rico’s worked with Kali Uchis, Doja Cat, Megan thee Stallion, Kenny Beats, Earthgang, Denzel Curry, and Mahalia. It’s easy to associate Rico with the crowd she comes from: the broadest, the most diverse, and the most powerful generation of female musicians ever. That’s not to mention the most promising generation of young musicians ever.
Technology has made music accessible in a way that is unlike anything else in human history. Technology made music-making easier than ever before in human history. The meritocracy may be complex, but the ability to find new records cannot be denied. Amazon is a major player in music. It is the gateway of accessibility. Rico and an interviewer were able to briefly reflect on Amazon and other topics during a haunting Dallas night.
Rico was on tour in Kehlani’s company. It was late in the tour. There were three levels in Dallas’ amphitheater general standing space that could hold fourteen, twenty, and three-quarters of a hundred square dancers.
“I feel like this rap sh** is very supernatural. Sometimes I be feeling like – I don’t know – like you can f*****g pinch me and I’m going to go back to being broke,”Rico rolled a joint. She was talking to the devil. The devil can’t visit without false pretenses, so she came as a journalist for a popular music magazine, a music magazine with stones.
“Dallas is a city of ghosts,”The devil was wearing her three piece suit. She was a big fan of Rico’s music. Rico recognized her. Rico recognized the devil as an equal, perhaps as a friend hopeful. Contrary to a literal interpretation of many country blues songs, the devil can’t make music. She can’t play the fiddle. Music is the only language that can communicate God and goodness. The devil, however, is accused of making music all the while.
“Rock stars are a little bit more exhibitionist. They do weird sh** for attention,”Rico. They were referencing Rico’s mid-show dedication to “the weirdos, the black sheep, the oddballs, and the rockstars.”
“Sometimes I do weird sh** for attention,”The devil spoke. “I don’t know.”
“We’re all entertainers. We love attention. I do weird sh** for attention, you know, occasionally. But I do think that the black sheep are more of – I mean, me being bisexual and being part of the LGBTQ community, I look at a lot of gay people who are black sheep counted out of their family, looked down on from their family. Their family kind of just disowns them.”
“So, when I think about them, I feel like they’re the strongest ones. When you have everybody that you love sh** on you for being you, but you’re still out here going to concerts, having a f*****g blast, f*** them. You’re strength,”Rico said. Rico lit her joint using a blueberry lighter, bubblegum, as well as a blueberry lighter. The devil then took one of her crimson pipes. The devil would have responded. “Xanax under a bed of finely mangled cannabis.”The devil is well-known for his lies.
“The cis men, cis woman, like we’re cool. You know. I follow them,”Rico. “But I feel like the gays are the ones that bring the looks. They bring the trends. They really are the ones who make it a cool thing to like me.”
“I wanted to ask you about your experience on tour with Playboi Carti,”The devil spoke. “And I wanted to ask you about how different drugs affect you creatively.”Rico had a hard time during her previous tour. This was widely covered. Much of the interview was in the context of that difficulty’s shadow. The very reason the devil came to visit Rico in Dallas was in awe of the strength she displayed on Carti’s tour.
“It shouldn’t be so easy to make me leave,”Rico. “Just cause I’m a girl don’t mean I’m going to act like a girl. I used to perform off psychedelics, a lot. I used to perform off shrooms. I used to perform off acid a lot. It’s lit.”
“Did it help you make songs?”
“Creatively, I wouldn’t really do it cause on drugs and on your phone, you can’t really write raps. If you can freestyle, then yeah. That’s a fun thing to do,”Rico. “I’ve been sober from any other drugs for like two years now.”
“Does your kid like school?”The devil was also asked.
“He loves school, and he is honestly very, very f*****g smart, smarter than I was in school. It is so weird cause he brings home homework and I’m like, I used to do this,”Rico. “We did Rolling Loud Portugal, and he’s f*****g backstage telling the guy who runs Rolling Loud, we need more fire. He’s smart.”
“He is smart. Would you be happy if he got into music?”The devil was also asked.
“If he wants to make music, then he’s going to be the best of his time, the uncontested front of the pack,”Rico.
The devil pulled out a notebook from her backpack and wrote a note.
“How was Austin?”The devil demanded that we stop writing.
“I went to sixth street. I know everyone says don’t go to sixth street. I was at a bar. People were drunk. They started fighting. Oh, it was bad. It was funny, but it was bad. Maybe the fighting was kind of bro-ey,”Rico. “I don’t know. I was on shrooms. So, I think the fight was way worse than it really was. But yeah, it was pretty intense.”
The devil took further notes. She asked. “is this what you thought I’d look like?”
“I was taught that the devil’s not ugly. The devil is the most desirable thing you can ever imagine cause that’s how they trick people, how you trick people,”Rico.
“You were taught?”The devil was also asked.
“In church,”Rico. “They were like, be weary of all that glitters is not gold. They taught me the devil comes dressed. Next, you’re going to ask me, what does God look like?”
“What does God look like?”The devil spoke.
“I don’t think God looks like anything,”Rico. She paused. “I can’t really put a finger on it. He made all of us. I hope he looks cool, though. I hope he’s not like a f*****g squid or something. Oh God, it’s not a squid; is it? It’s a squid.”
The devil was silent.
“You know the theory about octopuses. They’re aliens,”Rico.
“I wasn’t there when they were made,”The devil might have meant it in joking. “They can come from anywhere for all I know.”
“I really think that they’re aliens,”Rico. “You’re the devil. Have you talked to anybody who’s explored the ocean or discovered any wild a** sh**?”
“I’ve not zero period,”The devil spoke. “Zero people like that.”
“I’m into the science part of everything,”Rico. “I think that sh** is kind of cool.”
“I feel like if your kid was to be a scientist, that’d be a pretty dope route,”The devil spoke. “Just off the wall, what if he was an Astronaut?”
“I wouldn’t want him to be an astronaut,”Rico. “He can be anything but that.”
“You wouldn’t feel safe?”The devil was also asked.
“You’re not going into space,”Rico. “You can go anywhere on this planet as an adult, but you’re not going into space.”
“He looks you in the eye. He’s like, it’s my passion. I want to go to space,”The devil spoke.
“I say, you’re no Neil Armstrong,”Rico. “Who just went to space? Was it Jeff Bezos? That’s wicked.”
“You think so? In what way?”The devil spoke. “I mean – like, I don’t like him personally.”
“Think about being a human being going into outer space,”Rico. “Genuinely think about his rocket, his rocket! I understand it’s like, all right, we fly planes. That’s cool. Think about your human body leaving the only atmosphere that you’ve ever known going into outer space and looking at the f*****g planet that birthed you. You know how small. That would send me into the biggest depression.”
“You don’t think you’d feel good?”The devil was also asked.
“Well, what should I feel good about? Polluting a f*****g ozone layer to get up here to make this f*****g realization that we’re alone? We’re just on a rock,”Rico.
“Yeah,”The devil spoke.
“That’s terrifying. Yo, I don’t want to talk about that,”Rico.
“But it could also be beautiful in terms of, you know, like, oh, look at that beautiful little blue marble.You know? We mess it up. It’s just one blue marble. There’s a bunch of beautiful stars. You know. You get to see a bunch of other beautiful planets,”The devil spoke.
“No, it really sets the tone of like, bro, what the f*** is going on? Him being such a billionaire doesn’t stop him from being a regular person, a person who worked just like me,”Rico. “You go to work, and you went to college or whatever the f*** he did and created this company. Just imagine him at our age struggling. He doesn’t know what to do with his life. Does this and goes to f*****g outter space, bro. Be for real. I know he got up there and cried. Like I know he was like, this is just intense.”
“Yeah. We’re so small,”The devil spoke. “You think he – I don’t know. I don’t know if he’s capable of tears.”
“I think everyone is capable of tears. People do a good job of making people seem cold,”Rico.
“You’re right,”The devil spoke. “I don’t like how his workers seem to be treated. You know?”
“I feel like my DJ would say the same thing about me,”Rico.
“Would he?”The devil was also asked.
“I feel like, yeah,”Rico. “I feel like nobody likes working for anybody really. They’ll always have a reason to complain. Working is tough.”
Rico asked, “what’s wrong with these workers? What they be saying about him? What’s the tea?”
“I’ve heard they’re reprimanded liberally. I heard they find difficulties put on them when trying to organize, and sometimes they have to wee in bottles. I saw someone on Fox News say they don’t have enough time to take bathroom breaks on the job,”The devil spoke.
“I’ll have to start making y’all work like that,”Rico thanked her tour manager and assistants for coming to and from different times.
“No, seriously?”Rico asked her and one employee walked through to the room. “He didn’t get to go to the bathroom before the show today,”Rico pointed to her DJ. “Damn. What the f***? We got to get somebody in human resources.”
“I won’t let this get out,”He said that the devil took even more notes.
“That’s f****d up though that he’s doing that, but you know what? You’re right. He probably is an a******, but you know we will never know,”Rico.
“You might know. You’re famous,”The devil spoke. “You make great music.”
“Maybe I’ll meet him one day and I promise you, I’ll ask him,”Rico. “I’ll be like, are you an a******?”
“You have a real chance to be his friend,”The devil spoke. “He works out. His Amazon Music might be Rico Nasty, Rico Nasty, Rico Nasty. And if it isn’t, I could whisper in his ear.”
“Don’t say that to me,”Rico. “I’m going to need a check cut ASAP. You should see how much money I spent on f*****g Amazon.”
“What do you bond with other female rappers over?”The devil was also asked.
“We bond over getting bullied. We bond over getting called ugly,”Rico. “We bond over getting told that we look like men and that our parents should be disgusted with us, with how we turned out and how we show our p******. It’s not even just the internet, but it’s the way that people take, take, take, take, take, and give us nothing.”
“People use us as punching bags,”Rico. “Be real because nobody’s going to say that to the men. It’s easier to talk sh** on a girl.”
“It’s so much easier because there’s so much to talk about,”Rico. “You can talk about her hair. You can talk about her makeup. You can talk about her baby father. You can talk about her body. You can talk about her nails. You can talk about her toes. You can talk about her f*****g knees. You talk about her a**. Talk about her t******, her f*****g collarbone. You can talk about her shoulder. Talk about her elbows.”
“N*****?”She asked. “He broke. You got his haircut. You can’t dress. That’s it.”
“No, every little thing does not hurt our feelings,”Rico. “And by now we are used and conditioned to seeing some of the worst things said about us, but some sh** is just downright disgusting and vile and evil and dark. And the sh** people say, the things people wish on your life, the things people say about your loved ones is the sh** that hurts.”
“You’re not even a person to some people, bro. You’re just like a character,”Rico.
“I understand. How long did it take you to come up with his name, your son?”Ask the Devil.
“Cameron? His first name when I got pregnant with him was Gabriel. And then one time I was getting back from a doctor’s appointment. It was broad daylight, and I was seeing bats. And my favorite movie growing up was always Batman. So, I wanted to name him Bruce Wayne Kelly.”
“Wow,”The devil spoke.
“His first word was Batman,”Rico.
“That’s a huge word,”The devil spoke.
“Swear to God,”Rico. Rico took a closer look at her.
“That’s a huge word,”The devil spoke.
“Swear, guy. You can ask anybody. He wouldn’t say nothing. Then, he just said Batman, bat, man. I got Cameron because I always played with Bratz dolls. Cameron was the name for one of the boy Bratz,”Rico.
“Was it a dope boy? Was it one of the cooler boys?”The devil was also asked.
“He was fine,”Rico. “I thought he was going to look like him when he was a baby. I don’t think he looks like that now.”
“What if he told you, I want to be a crime fighter. I want to a vigilante?”The devil was jotting furiously while her pipe floated at her shoulders, where it was easy for her to take heavy drags.
“No. No. He’s not going to go into, uh, crime fighting of any f*****g sort,”Rico.
“He takes it seriously. He’s a Batman like figure,”The devil spoke.
“Like anything involving like military?”Rico.
“He’s a Batman figure, a lone rogue with incredible ability. I can guarantee it if you want – or even make it an option,”The devil spoke.
“He’s like the ones on Hollywood Boulevard in the costume,”Rico.
“No, he’s really good. He’s going to be really good,”The devil spoke.
“I think not,”Rico.
The devil laughed and said they had enough material for a good evening. “It was smart not to make the agreement,”As she left, the devil spoke. “He’ll make a fine –,”The devil spoke. Rico didn’t hear the rest.
Rico later stated that Rico was more generous than she had anticipated. “I might be the only artist alive welcome in both heaven and hell,”She spoke.