Our D.C. Artist of the Week is Rico Nasty! Rico Nasty, born Maria Kelly, is a musician and fashion icon from the DMV area who is known for her effortless weaving of hip-hop sounds with her self-described “sugar trap” aesthetic. She rose to prominence in 2017 and 2018 following her release of lively, hard-hitting songs like “Poppin” and “Smack a B*tch.” She is most loved for her unapologetically honest lyrics, eclectic style, and energetic on-stage presence.
Rico Nasty was born to a Puerto Rican mother and African American father. She has lived all throughout the DMV area, including in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. She first started rhyming through poetry before she moved on to rapping and songwriting. While in high school, Rico Nasty began self-releasing content in 2014, and by 2017 she had released five solo mixtapes.
She gained a local, underground following with SoundCloud singles such as “iCarly” and “Hey Arnold.” After gaining wider recognition in 2018, she signed to Atlantic Records where she released her fifth mixtape, “Nasty,” in 2018. She is now working on her seventh mixtape, “Rx.”
Rico Nasty’s songs are generally self-loving in nature. The term “sugar trap,” which Rico Nasty has used as the title for multiple projects as well as for the name of her independent record label, is a bubbly, upbeat rap style that combines punk and metal aesthetics over hip-hop and trap beats. Her lyrics like “Hey, everyday is lovely, everyday is sunny/I don’t need your money b*tch I got my own money” exude optimism and strength, and when she performs, audience members feel a sense of collective acceptance and strength themselves.
You can learn more about Rico Nasty and stay up-to-date on her recent releases by checking out her website.