Review: Rico Nasty – Nightmare Vacation

Rico Nasty has become a giant within the rap community, her punk aesthetic and powerful delivery has propelled her into the spotlight and now after much anticipation she has released her debut album, Nightmare Vacation.

Born Maria-Cecilia Simone Kelly, Rico Nasty first starting releasing mixtapes back in 2016. The Rico Story and Sugar Trap showed the origins of Rico Nasty and an underground fanbase began to surface. But it wasn’t until 2018, when Rico’s breakthrough mixtape Nasty was released, did she start receiving deserved attention. Nasty launched Rico into a whole realm of success and landed her into the XXL Freshman’s Class of 2019. Since then Rico has released a scattered amount of tracks such as Sandy and Roof and in 2019 released the collaborative mixtape Anger Management with producer Kenny Beats.

Rico started teasing Nightmare Vaction earlier this year, when she livestreamed a studio session with one half of 100 Gecs, Dylan Brady. They began playing a track that was later released as the first single iPhone that was produced by Brady. This isn’t the first time that Rico has worked with 100 Gecs as she was featured on the remixed version of their track Ringtone alongside Charli XCX and Kero Kero Benito earlier this year. Although, Rico is often known for her aggressive and rage filled delivery, iPhone sees her infiltrate the world of hyper-pop. The use of auto-tune and a more tuneful bubble-pop emphasises the change in Rico’s performance and boasts her impressive range.

Nightmare Vacation begins with the explosive Candy. A concoction of trap and rap is reminiscent of the mixtape Nasty, the track feels like a classic within the discography of Rico. The post-chorus rings throughout the whole song, the repetition of “Can you feel me?” builds to a heated climax before entered the poignant chorus.

The track Girl Scouts has a similar narrative to Candy. Both tracks juxtapose their titles, the term ‘girl scout’ and ‘candy’ convey a sense of innocence and naïveté. But much like Candy, Girl Scouts is fury infested with the infamous tone of Rico’s raspy voice. Although, in relation to the imagery of child-like innocence, the track is similar to that of a disjointed musical box adding to the sinister feel of the track.

Nightmare Vacation only has a few features including appearances by Gucci Mane, Don Toliver and Trippie Red. But the most notable feature is from acclaimed rapper Amine. Rico and Amine have previously collabroated, with Rico being featured on the track Sugar Parents, on Amine’s 2018 album ONEPOINTFIVE. On Nightmare Vacation, Amine appears on Back & Forth, a more tranquil sounding song compared to the rest of the album. In an interview with XXL, Rico announced that she was working on a track with Amine and said “It’s a bit different because I feel like Amine always makes the artists that he gets on a song with get out of the box…It’s not your typical Rico Nasty song…It doesn’t sound like rage.” Back & Forth appears a direct representation of the title. Amine and Rico take turns saying their lines creating a fluid conversation enhanced by the easy and nonchalant beat.

The standout track of the album is OHFR? Once again produced by Dylan Brady, OHFR? embodies the trademark Rico Nasty attitude. Her iconic adlibs are sprinkled around the track, whilst a siren like sound blares the the background. The punk attitude that Rico is known for beams not just in the song but also in the music video released last month.

As far as debut albums go, Rico Nasty has released a memorable set of tracks, which only further prove why she has gained so much attention in a short space of time. Her raspy and aggressive vocals tear-up many conventions of female artists and her lyricism, although could be viewed as crude and vulgar, give a space to girls to get angry and truly express themselves.

By Abbie Aitken

Listen to Nightmare Vacation:

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