When it comes to the phenomenon that is Rico Nasty, think of a chaotic detonation. Within this explosion, contains this… disorderly, unorthodox energy that captivates listeners all over the world. Whether she’s screaming, or creating melodic pop-turning rap that infiltrates your core, Rico Nasty is an undeniable force. With each release, her relentlessness grows, her skill improves, and her rage intensifies. After heavy patience and eagerness, Rico fans finally received their long-awaited treat, an album! Released on Friday (Dec. 4), the 23-year-old, DMV born-and-bred native has finally dropped her highly anticipated debut studio album, Nightmare Vacation.
Nightmare Vacation holds 16 songs with features from talents such as Aminé, Don Toliver, Gucci Mane, Trippie Redd, and more. The album follows the punk-rapper’s collaborative Anger Management with Kenny Beats. Across the entire project, Rico recruits over 15 various producers ranging from friend and frequent collaborator, Kenny Beats to Take a Daytrip. Much like the essence of vomiting, Nightmare erupts in your core and takes listeners on a wild journey of self-assurance, confidence, rage, and more. The album is preceded by a string of lead singles -“IPHONE,” “Don’t Like Me,” the groovy, “Own It,” “OHFR?,” and the utterly contagious, in-your-face, 2018 loosie, “Smack A Bitch (arriving as a bonus track).
As it shows, the beginning of a project always is the tone setter. On Nightmare Vacation‘s opener, “Candy,” Rico ditches the humble energy and ushers in a presence of self-assurance and bravado. Over Bradford Lewis’ insane production, Rico raps about dealing the critiques from the naysayers and haters while she continues to elevate. She has no desire to fit in or blend herself to satisfy anyone’s mold of her.
On a dark and stormy night, I don’t blend in, b***h, I shine bright (Okay)
I heard your favorite rapper and he sounds like all-cap, sound like all hype (Okay)
But I don’t write reviews ’cause that’s something y’all do, something y’all type (Okay)
They treat my style like a family-size meal (Ha), they just sit around and bite (Okay)Rico Nasty – Candy
One thing about Ms. Nasty is, she has no problem flexing on her opposition. As the album continues she recruits Don Toliver and Gucci Mane for the icy “Don’t Like Me.” The trio sound off on their sexual prowess and lavish lifestyles. She channels that scream-Rockstar rap reminiscent of “Key Lime OG” and “Poppin” on the confident, “Check Me Out” track. With a raspy voice and high charisma, she repeatedly screams “Check me out.” The song acts as self-affirming anthem for the ladies. It makes you want to put on your best outfit and step out.
Continuing through the project, listeners experience a primetime Rico on the standout rage anthem, “STFU.” Here, Rico’s flow is at its utmost best. From flow, execution, and delivery, she shines like the Rockstar she was born to be. Her bars are polished, swift, and hard-hitting. The message? Simple. She wants all of her haters to literally shut the f**k up! Over Take a Daytrip’s loony production, Rico takes her rage to the next level. The confidence escalates further as she raps about being the HBIC, being a trendsetter, and captivating many with her music.
If you’re gonna talk that sh*t, better come with it
Whenever I talk my sh*t, they gon’ f**k with it (Yeah)
Every time I drop my sh*t, they in love with it (Yeah)
Rico, talk your sh*t, bi**h (Ugh)
I’ma go dumb on it, Novacane, numb on it (Huh, huh)Rico – STFU
The standouts continue as listeners are greeted by “Back and Forth.” Instead of raging she provides pure melodic rap appeal. Teaming again with friend and collaborator, Aminé, the two much like the song’s title, go back and forth dishing out nimble bars to each other. Gliding over Dez Wright & CashMoneyAP’s smooth beat, Aminé briefly flexes rapping about his sex game, luxury lifestyle, and alluring charm. Rico follows the energy rapping about her sex game, immense wealth, and the various men she has all across the world who satisfy her various needs. Having collaborated prior, the two simply do not miss. The two possess an attractiveness that translates extremely well in their collaborations. “Back and Forth” is easily one of the top records on the album.
Nightmare Vacation returns its focus to the rage on the tracks like “Girl Scouts” and “Let It Out.” “Girl Scouts” finds Rico teaming yet again with Take a Daytrip while reclaiming her power. She addresses the copycats who imitate her every move, look, and action. Instead of being offended, she’s flattered and she recruits them as her girl scouts. Produced by 100 gecs, “Let It Out” is full-out rage. The energy reverts listeners back to 2018’s “Rage” as she shouts, screams, and screeches. Here, Rico is in her element and she has utter fun with her verses and flow. Again, she sits her clones and haters down to remind them all who exactly is the prototype.
She don’t like it but I made her a believer
On my worst day, I still wouldn’t wanna be her (Wouldn’t wanna be her)
You think I give a f**k? I’m in the field, you in the bleachers (Huh?)
You gotta know your place, but you a student, I’m a teacher (Lil’ b***h, yeah, woah)
We wild out (Let’s go, let’s go), spazzin’
Voila (Voila), magicRico Nasty – Let it out
While the first half of the album is full throttle, the second half begins to tap the brake. She brings her TacoBella energy on “Loser.” She reverts from the rage and brings lighter tone. Infusing a melodic, punk-rap, Rico recruits Trippie Redd. In a humorous, lighthearted fashion, Rico pays homage to the pop culture classic, “Mean Girls” as she raps, “See you tryin’ way too hard to fit in (Woah, woah, woah, woah) / We goin’ shoppin’, loser, get in (Woah, woah, woah, woah, get in).” Rico has this effect where she makes everything sound out of this world. Tapping Trippie, the two amplify this feeling and the song just rolls off your tongue naturally. It’s very catchy and melodic.
Rico Nasty is no stranger to experimentation. On Nightmare Vacation she tests the waters attempting different sounds and approaches for tracks. For example, on the soft “No Debate,” Rico infiltrates pop-leaning territory again while still infusing hip-hop/ rap. The rapper shared that the track was actually inspired by her 2019 mixtape, Nasty. Rico has also been very vocal in the past about women (more especially black women) and just liberating themselves through whatever methods bring them happiness and peace. She continues this energy on the sensual and raw. It’s not often that she creates tracks solely focused on sex but on “Pussy Poppin,” she sounds like a pro. She lets her listeners know that she doesn’t usually talk like this but, that doesn’t stop her from delivering. She celebrates her sexuality and claims her power.
Nasty, you ain’t gotta ask me
Give it to you like you need it, no IG, he double-tap it (Daddy)
D**k so good, make you put it in a caption
I’m drunk, I need that action (Damn)
He want a quickie, let him lick me, then I started gaspin’ (Huh?)
The way his tongue be goin’ crazy, you wouldn’t imagine (Oh my god)Rico Nasty – pussy Poppin
The album’s last standout arrives at the bass-booming, trap-heavy “10Fo.” Here, Rico brings that pure DMV rap energy. From production to Rico’s delivery the flow is very nostalgic and reminds me of the music scene back within the DMV area. Here, the lyricism is fueled by anger and rage. She is bold and direct as she screams about breaking windows and aggression. Nightmare Vacation ends with her notable “Smack A Bitch” track and a girl-power remix to the track featuring female rap newcomers, ppcocaine, Sukihana, and Rubi Rose.
Overall, Rico delivers on her debut album. She brings her various eras and infuses them into this new chaotic, explosive chapter. Nightmare Vacation showcases Rico finding herself again along her path of self-confidence and reflection. Along the way she praises sexuality, boldness, and women. She assumes the role of the dominant dog. She makes a way for herself every time and relies on not one person (or man) to do anything for her. Like a ticking bomb, Nightmare Vacation is unconventional, and truly erratic. And we wouldn’t expect it to be delivered any other way. While the album has inconsistent areas, Rico caps 2020 off with a solid, unforgettable debut album.
At only 23, the young artist is merely getting started. She has no problem with taking risks, trying new sounds, and constantly breaking through whatever box she is placed in. Nightmare Vacation signifies the star that is Rico Nasty and leaves opportunity for further growth and development within her already noteworthy career. Nightmare Vacation receives an 8/10.
Top 5 Tracks from Nightmare Vacation:
- Back and Forth
- Let It Out
Honorable Mentions: OHFR?, Don’t Like Me, Girl Scouts, Loser