Updated: Dec 12, 2022
Maria-Cecilia Simone Kelly, known professionally as Rico Nasty, is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter from Maryland. Rico Nasty's latest album, "Las Ruinas", explores the artist's depth into industry laden hyperpop sounds while maintaining this to be one of her most vulnerable albums.
"Intrusive" starts the album in almost a guttural, visceral sound and taken aback by the original industrial sounds only known to be by Rico Nasty. "Vaderz" brings again the straight in-your-face alternative synths that become almost pounding to the ear. Along with the dark, grunge almost filthy bass, it's apparent to hear Rico's vocals panned in the background from both the left and right. "Black Punk" begins with distorted vocals entrenching us into dark punk textures for a battle cry begging for those that Rico inspired to understand where she has been and where they are. Mixed with the continued synths and hyperpop chops of eclectic chopped and distorted vocals, it makes this song almost filthy sounding. "Messy" is almost a complete change from the beginning three songs of this album. We are introduced to a song almost created to become a disco track. This track features Teezo TouchDown, who has helped shape this into a disco structured song that not only is a remnant of a pop song but still adds Rico's personality to still make it her own and add a different shade to her sound that her followers are used too. "One on 5" is a pulsating club banger almost reminiscent of a late-night underground party in Los Angeles.
Midway through the album, we can see the shift in Rico showcasing her ability to change her sound and showcase that she is not one-dimensional. "Gotsa Get Paid" is one of the highlights of the album. Beginning with strings, we get glimpsed into a nightmarish sample that's reminiscent of Danny Brown and The Avalanches. Being produced by 100 Gecs, "Gotsa Get Paid" loops the nightmarish sample to allow Rico to freestyle while still creating textures in the backing layer to hook the listener. She features Marshmello in her song, "Watch Your Man" which delivers a blend of her industrial sound with future bass and future pop that is known to be Marshmello's style in his house music. In "Jungle", Rico allows producer, Fred again.., to create space in the song and develop further before Rico jumps on 2 minutes into an industrial hyperpop club banger. "Dance Hall" presents itself to fuse dance house as well as Rico's alternative vocals to create a cohesive that meshes both genres. "Skullflower" brings forth hyperpop sounds and hyper-pitched vocals that make one feel they are on a trip into an alternative dimension. Even on "Focus on Me" we see Rico shifting from her traditional rap to creating a song that pitches vocals to a fairylike experience of fear and overthinking just through the use of her sounds within the track. "Easy" becomes one of the final tracks that shift towards a guitar-laden ballad that emotes the feeling of feeling worthless through losing their power from someone they once thought would care for them. Ending with how much space is created to emotionally captivate the listener, adding piano to the track moves the listener to feel her pain. "Into The Dark" is one of the last tracks that showcase an emo-rap to deliver to us a sultry, nudgy, insular take on what it feels to be alone and abandoned.
Rico's sound has developed far past her industrial house sound to being willing to take risks and explore more hyperpop and mesh her sound with differing genres. Compared to her previous album, "Las Ruinas" took more risks sonically, and introducing her ballads added a new complexion to her sound. With that, on the Intersect Magazine scale of 1-10 for sound, "Las Ruinas" receives an 8/10.
An abrupt start to begin the album, we hear the unapologetic Rico beginning with "Intrusive". Lyrically, she speaks on her confidence and unapologetic behavior of ensuring no one can truly be on her level of energy, "“I’m your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper, know you peeped it/ You can keep your compliments, my confidence don’t need it/ Took my flow, and used it, bro, you might as well just keep it." Her next song, "Vaderz" continues to speak on copycats of her sound. What made this song interesting was the trade off of vocals from the guest feature, Bktherula, "She got a fan page of me, she a stan/ That bitch a carbon copy, she a scam.” "Black Punk" allows Rico to speak on what it is like for a black artist to be interwined in the alternative space and the struggle of being different from others. In "Messy" the most memorable lyric comes from Teezo Touchdown's hook, "How can someone so pretty/ Be so Baddy/ So organized/ Yet so Messy/ Be So Gentle/ Yet So Deadly". We almost see the difference in Rico being vulnerable in sharing to us how messy she is with her relations with everyone close despite what she showcases to her listeners as apart of her image. "One on 5" lyrically supports the pulsating club banger of being empowered as a woman in the 21st century, "See what happens, fuck with a bitch/ Jab, jab, cross on my elevator shit/ Play if you want too, pew, pew, bang/ I told you not to fuck with the gang." Rico presents the reality that a woman isn't meant to be docile and just like men play games, she doesn't have to play by the rules either. "Gotsa Get Paid" is the first track where she is able to freestyle on a looped sample and showcases her ability to showcase her lyricism and rhyme scheme in a fun and entertaining way.
"I'm drinking, I'm smoking, I'm twisted/ This pollen sticky, got me lifted/ I'm switching my cars how I switch fits/ Raising a bar, keep going hard"
Rico still showcases her funny and playful songs that she loves to continue to create. "Blow Me" continues her alternative rap by mixing with her carefree attitude to be comedic. Almost jokingly, she creates an Australian accent when uttering her lyric of "And he go down under, g'day mate!/ I don’t ever check the bill on a dinner date". As we are slowly getting to get a glimpse of the real Rico, she shares her most vulnerable and emotional tracks for last. "Easy" is the first ballad that Rico spills her guts over the feeling of feeling depressed and emotional by being used by others and always hurting themselves in the end. On the almost apathetic and vulnerable side, the lyric that resonates the most being
"Like a knife to my neck, you hold up the mistakes I've made/ Mess up my makeup so my fans don't think I was cryin' before I got on stage/ I find the ugly things beautiful/ Guess that explains what I am"
We have shifted from Rico demonstrating her lyricism through her ability to rap but now we have seen Rico opening herself up and showcasing her ability to share herself that we almost cry from her lyrics in this track. "Into The Dark" is Rico's desire to tell us how it has been for her to be lonely and abandoned by everyone despite her stardom. We can hear her fear of being lonely and self-medicating to push down the feeling of potential loneliness,
"You're a terrible doctor, turned me into Frankenstein/ These stitches cover my heart, your ego swallows my pride/ I let you do what you want, you do whatever you like/ Hit you with the shoulder strikes 'cause I just don't want to fight/ Are we even in love or am I just always high?"
This vulnerability in Rico Nasty's music has been prevalent but typically masqueraded as the attitude she presents to her audience to hide her true feelings. As an artist that's known for her abrasive personality, Rico pushed herself to be more than an abrasive personality but an artist that falters with abandonment, loneliness, and emotions that make us question our existence.
From her ability to change her lyricism and ability to paint a full picture through words of who she is, Rico has been able to develop a new sound of herself and a new image that is far from her stage presence. On the Intersect Magazine scale of 1-10 for lyricism, "Las Ruinas" receives an 8/10.
THE ART BEHIND THE ALBUM
"Las Ruinas" is one of the most vulnerable and relaxed albums in her discography. Despite her traditional rapping and jarring sounds, her ability to display her greatness, faults, vulnerability, and messiness through not just sound but lyricism creates an album that is multilayered just as much as she is. Behind the album title, Rico visited Mexico where she was able to see the painting by Frida Kahlo known as, "Ruinas".
The artwork by Frida Kahlo depicted physical pain in oneself and with that became prevalent in Rico giving homage to the work of an infamous artist but also parallelling her pain within her artistry away from the limelight.
Whether it's the grunge vocals, hypepop distortions, or even heartbreaking ballads, "Las Ruinas" showcases the true Rico for everyone to see. With that on the Intersect Magazine Scale of 1-10 for The Art Behind the Album, "Las Ruinas" receives a 9/10.
Overall, "Las Ruinas" receives a rating of 8.5/10 on the Intersect Magazine Scale of 1-10. If you want to explore an experimental artist, Rico Nasty is just for you! Check her new album "Las Ruinas" below!