One or two years ago, no one would have recognized the name “Rico Nasty.” Well, at least I didn’t. I do remember the exact moment I first heard Rico Nasty, though. I was actually introduced to Rico Nasty by an AU veteran, Antonette Masando-- a past EP. She was in charge of the music at our friends-giving 2 years ago, and as soon as Rico came on someone else immediately recognized her. I quietly took note of the artist’s name and streamed her music on the ride home.
Ever since that fateful night, I have been a faithful fan of anything Rico Nasty puts her name on. I remember I was already in bed about to go to sleep when Nasty dropped, but I listened to the whole album in the dark before I fell asleep.
Now, let’s fast forward to 2018. Besides Nasty, she dropped a slew of singles that progressively became more and more aggressively charged. The beginning of 2019 had some of Rico’s most creative and explosive work. Rico had been teasing a new project for a while on Twitter and Instagram live sessions. When Coachella rolled around and she hit the stage, she announced her mixtape to the whole audience and the rest of the world watching the livestream online. She proceeded to play some never before heard songs with her producer Kenny Beats taking the stage as well. The mixtape was actually made in collaboration with Kenny Beats, who is a regular in Rico Nasty’s production. It was finally released on all streaming services the following Wednesday: April 24 -- a week ago.
This album definitely has some of the hardest music Rico has ever made. Hearing live versions of some of the songs she performed a week before it dropped really did not prepare fans for the studio versions. Kenny Beats produced beats that I can only best describe as cyber punk. Computer, robotic, and other futuristic sounds were abundant in the tracks. Rico rapped over them in her usual “aggressive rap rock” style. Although the mixtape only spans over 18 minutes, it truly takes fans on a journey.
The first track, Cold, opens up with a robotic voice asking listeners if they’re tired of the same old thing. Clearly, a hint that what’s up next is surely to be something unique that no one has ever done or heard before. The lyrical content is typical Rico: being herself, bragging about her money, and her love for weed. Most importantly, she states that no one is as cold as she is. The next song, Cheat Code, carries the same energy of being an unmatched opponent in the rap game. This track is about all the people who try to copy her. Hatin, a personal favorite, is the next track. It samples JAY-Z’s Dirt Off Your Shoulder and the chorus even references the song’s lyrical content. This song is definitely the most empowering one of the whole bunch, by encouraging women to be themselves and pay no mind to anyone else. The next two songs have the carry the same bragging attitude as before, but Big Titties focuses on the women that Rico has under her thumb while Mood almost makes fun of enemies and haters due to their lack of fame. The last two tracks, Sell Out and Again, definitely have some heartfelt lyrics behind them. They are reminiscent of Rico’s softer persona, known as Tacobella. Sell Out focuses on the drive behind her work: her fans. She understands that her experiences and lyrics are things that fans can relate to, and she wants them to know they are not alone. Again is a more personal account of her rise to fame and refusal to live in poverty again. She questions why bad things happen, but has faith that things are looking up. Ultimately, these two songs work together to show fans that no matter how much money she earns, she’ll never change.
On his Twitter, Kenny Beats informs fans to listen to the mixtape from start to finish, seeing as how it’s “like a temper tantrum” that starts off panicked; contemplates; and finishes cool, calm, and collected. I think this is an important note to leave on, because listening to Anger Management is a pilgrimage of progress. No matter how awful things get, Rico Nasty will always be there for her fans.