Photo: Mario Kristian
Setlist.Fm’s weekly “Who Is” series is an immersive way to expose readers to up-and-coming indie acts that should be on your radar; written by music fans for music fans. Each week we feature an artist and/or band that’s making waves in the music world. The “Who Is” pieces are a tell-all of the artist, showcasing everything from music and performance style, to influences and tour dates. This week we’re showering you in everything Rico Nasty.
Born Maria Kelly to a Puerto Rican mother and black father, Rico Nasty has been slaying the haters since her grade-school years. Her stage name Rico Nasty stems from when a boy tried to embarrass her by calling her “Rico Nasty” after seeing a “Puerto Rico” lanyard around her neck. Rather than letting it humiliate her, she owned it and made it her Instagram handle.
Now the queen, at 22 years young, has released her latest project, Anger Management – an 18-minute spit-fire piece of work that takes aim at haters and dismissive men in a witty ad-libs and rap-rock style. Anger Management, which she worked on with producer Kenny Beats, showcases Kelly’s ability to evolve.
Kelly’s career is associated with her signature throat scratchiness, rapidly changing hairstyles (and colors) and cartoon imagery. She’s constantly reinventing herself and is frequently seen donning bright wigs and colorful ensembles.
She gained a steady following after the release of her back-to-back 2016 mixtapes, The Rico Story and Sugar Trap. The next year, her single “Poppin” garnered over 5 million views on YouTube and was featured on the HBO show, Insecure.
The rapper has a few more festivals she’ll be gracing this summer – you can catch those dates over on her website.
Learn more about the starlet on Setlist.Fm’s “Who Is Rico Nasty?” Piece!