(AllHipHop Features) As part of my 2016 #DMVOnTheMove series, I conducted an interview with the rising Hip Hop voice who introduced a new rap subgenre she coined Sugar Trap. Eight months later, Rico Nasty is even closer to expanding her sound beyond just DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
The 20-year-old rhymer released the Tales of Tacobella mixtape in May, and she didn’t slow down after that body of work arrived online. A video for her new single “Poppin” was uploaded to YouTube a month later. Since that time, the clip has collected over 730,000 views.
Rico’s presence also recently jumped from the internet to premium cable when “Poppin” was played during the “Hella Open” episode of the HBO sitcom Insecure. You may want to catch a ride on the Rico Nasty wave now, because it looks as if this could be a tsunami set to strike the entire Hip Hop landscape in the very near future.
AllHipHop: I’m sure when some people first see your name they get a certain impression about what type of artist you may be. But listening to your music, you tend to not follow the script of some other female artists that go the sexual route. Did you make a conscious effort to keep that out of your music?
Rico Nasty: No, it’s just not really at the top of my list of things to talk about. I’m 20 years old. I have a whole life left to f*ck people. I don’t want to put all of that in my music right now because I’m not f*cking nobody. I’m living life and that’s what the music is about. It’s not about whose p*ssy is wetter. That’s kind of weird.
I just like to keep it cool. A lot of my fans are younger than me, so I always want to make sure that when they’re in the car with their parents they can listen to my music. The same goes for me and my son. He’s about to be 2 in November, and when he’s able to understand the lyrics, I hope that I’m still not talking about sex. [My music] is kid friendly.
AllHipHop: It seems you’ve already built a really loyal, almost rabid, fan base.
Rico Nasty: Yeah, my fans are f*cking crazy. They’ll do like anything for me. [laughs] It’s really weird, but I love them so much. They be wildin out at the shows.
AllHipHop: You recently released Tales of Tacobella. Before that, you had The Rico Story. What’s the difference between Rico and Tacobella?
Rico Nasty: Rico is the harder one. On Rico Story, my intro is way different from any other music I’ve put out recently. So Rico Nasty is the one you usually hear spitting the hot bars. She’s the rock star. Then Tacobella is more on the soft side. You hear her on songs like “Brandon” or “Once Upon A Time.” She’s more in tune with the harmonies and sing-song sh*t.
Rico is more like me. I feel like Tacobella is a character I just created in the midst of all the rap sh*t. I just thought it would be tight as f*ck to have The Rico Story and then also have a story about Tacobella. That’s why Tales of Tacobella has a lot of singing, so they can get familiar with that portion of me.
AllHipHop: At what point did you realize music is the direction you wanted to take? And when did you realize you wanted to explore these different characters through your music?
Rico Nasty: I’ll start with the characters. I’ve always been like that. I grew up as the only child, so I always wished for brothers and sisters. I was alone a lot of my life. I had friends in high school, but I was never the life of the party. I always had to figure sh*t out on my own. In doing that, I just discovered different parts of me. Then I put certain parts of my life into personalities. They’re not real people. They just represent sh*t I’ve gone through, and I’m able to use that tone and emotion for a certain sound.
I started getting into music in like the 10th grade. I had friends that had bullsh*t studios in their house. I would go over there, and I’d be the only girl. N*ggas would be skating. I was like, “I’m gonna try and skate.” I was skating for a little bit, but I just stopped. I got more involved in the rapping, ego sh*t, and looking cool. So I just said, “F*ck that. I’m gonna record.” Then I just couldn’t stop. Every day I was skipping school trying to finish my mixtape. That’s when I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it in high school. I had to wait. It wasn’t my time.
AllHipHop: We talked before about your fan base. It’s still growing. The music industry is so saturated now. How do you plan to reach an even larger audience? Is your intent to be a mainstream artist?
Rico Nasty: Honestly, I always made my music for purposes of self, to get some sh*t off my chest. So when I put music out, I’m not like, “This is the hit.” My most recent song, “Poppin,” was an accident. It was just spur of the moment. The video was shot in a day. I made that beat the night before I shot it. I made the beat with my producer.
A lot of sh*t is spontaneous, so it’s hard to pinpoint how far this will go because I’m just doing it. I’m not really looking for recognition. But yeah, if I’m mainstream, f*ck yeah! That’s lit! That’s amazing. That’s another whole other side of life that a lot of people don’t get to see. But right now, I’m building a brand and a crazy ass fan base. I need them to be crazier. [laughs]
AllHipHop: “Poppin” was used in an episode of Insecure. What was your reaction to that? Did you see a change in the streaming numbers?
Rico Nasty: I want to say yeah, but not necessarily because “Poppin” was already at 570,000 in three weeks without Insecure. All Insecure did was keep it going. I was getting 10,000 to 15,000 views a day on the video. Insecure kept it going, kept it consistent, and kept people coming back.
Bruh! I was in Cali sitting in an Airbnb with my boyfriend. I was sleepy as sh*t. I woke up like mid-episode. I love the show, but I wasn’t aware I was going to be on the show. So I was just chilling, watching the episode, then my manager/boyfriend was chilling too, acting like he didn’t know what the f*ck was going on. Then the sh*t just comes on, and I’m like, “What the f*ck?!” I tweeted it out, and everyone in the DMV was like, “Oh sh*t, she’s on Insecure!” Then for [Insecure creator] Issa Rae to tweet out, “I’m a poppin as bish” - that was a f*cking blessing.
AllHipHop: I saw that tweet. That had to be a special moment.
Rico Nasty: What was even worse was - I don’t know if you watch the show - but the next weekend my whole family gathered to watch the show. In front of my cousins and my mom, they were having a threesome in the next episode. [laughs] I was like, “I told you guys to watch it. I am so sorry.” I felt so terrible. I was like, “F*ck, f*ck, f*ck! Turn it off!” It was hilarious.
Part 2 of A Conversation With Rico Nasty will be published the week of September 4.