Rapper Rico Nasty performs top hits, talks national protests during headline Dillo set


Daily file photo by Marissa Martinez

Rico Nasty at Pitchfork Music Festival in 2019. The 23-year-old rapper was Digital Dillo’s headline act.

Marissa Martinez, Editor in Chief

There are many words one could use to describe rapper Rico Nasty — scary, energetic, funny, and above all, extremely talented.

All those qualities and more came through during the Digital Dillo headliner’s set. Rico started her taped set by staring directly into the camera before launching into her 2018 hit “Trust Issues.” For almost 30 minutes, the rapper flew through some of her top hits, including “Countin’ Up,” “Guap (Lala)” and “Hard.” Clips from the popular anime series, Sailor Moon, looped on a TV in the background, while large stuffed animals flanked her on either side.

Rico’s flow blends poppy, sharp lyrics with aggressive hip-hop beats to form a unique “sugar trap” style that landed her a spot in 2019’s XXL freshman class. Overall, the 23-year-old thrives in between life’s contrasts — even her stage name reflects balance, she told Mayfest member Eric Cunningham during a Q&A session following her taped set.

“In the Spanish culture, ‘rico’ is looked at as rich, good-looking, wealthy, good luck — rico is a powerful thing,” she said. “Nasty, I guess, is the bad part, the ugly part. Similar to ‘sugar trap,’ but just my name. I’m really obsessed with the good and the bad, I feel like some people get caught up in everything being so good, and I always believe in an equal balance of good and bad.”

During the livestream, she also listed some of her biggest musical influences — Missy Elliott, Rihanna and Travis Scott — and named new female artists also from the DMV area that she enjoys.

When asked if she had any words for her black fans who had to miss her Dillo set to join the nationwide movements against police brutality on Saturday, Rico said the protests have been the only things she has been talking about with friends and family.

“If you are out and you are protesting, I just want you to know that you are strong. You are changing history,” Rico said. “Seeing you guys know what happens when we speak up, know what happens when we do anything that they don’t agree with, and you continue to fight and continue to go for what we deserve, I have nothing but respect for y’all.”

Rico said that people should continue to share posts about wearing protective equipment like goggles and masks while protesting and fighting “for something that we should have been had.” She added to say she’s tired of seeing posts every six months about someone dying.

“That’s somebody’s son. That’s somebody’s uncle,” Rico said. “Trayvon Martin was somebody’s child. They don’t come back — they’re gone forever… If you listen to my music, you know firsthand that anger is something that I feel like people have always acted like we’re not allowed to be. That’s all y’all giving us.”

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