Rico Nasty - Nightmare Vacation Music Album Reviews

Rico Nasty - Nightmare Vacation Music Album Reviews
On her official debut, the electric rapper-singer is by turns deliriously chaotic, full of ambition, and unfocused as she tries a little of everything that’s made her a star.

It was Rico Nasty and Kenny Beats’ first time in the studio together. She asked him for heavy metal. Then she stepped out, took some molly, and came back in. He apparently hadn’t finished the beat yet, but Rico saw something in its half-baked state and insisted on recording. She might’ve been motivated by some rap beef, maybe not. Rico’s hook was simple yet deadly. Kind of like that time Ice Cube rhymed “AK” with “good day,” there was a sense of foreboding in its relief: “Thank God, I ain’t have to smack a bitch today.”
The 2018 loosie “Smack a Bitch” laid the foundation for the Maryland rapper’s electrifying screamo rap—jagged guitar riffs, booming trap drums, and an unbridled rage that pushes Rico's vocal cords to the brink, hoarseness be damned. The song reappears with a deliriously chaotic remix on Rico’s official debut album, Nightmare Vacation, recalling the genesis of her punk-rap hybrid sound. The menacing rasp was simmering under the surface on standouts like “Key Lime OG” and “Poppin” from her 2017 mixtape Sugar Trap 2, but it wasn’t until 2018’s Nasty and 2019’s Anger Management that it took shape.

Rico has talked of pop ambitions—one of her biggest inspirations is Rihanna—and like the Bajan icon, she finds multiple pit stops between the sweetness and fury of her various personas. In addition to Kenny Beats on “Smack a Bitch,” Rico enlists 16 other producers across 16 tracks, including Dylan Brady from 100 gecs and Take a Daytrip, hitmakers for Sheck Wes and Lil Nas X. There are more than a few moments of brilliance, but as a whole, the album lacks cohesion, feeling less exploratory and unbound than simply unfocused.

Where Nasty brought Rico’s hard edges into sharper focus, Nightmare Vacation reshapes them, experimenting with cadence and tone in playful and exciting ways. Rico has mastered aggression but shirks formulas and predictability, stretching out the spectrum of anger and blending it with humor, bravado, and brattiness. The sparse keys and impish vocal contortions of “Check Me Out” recall the dexterity of OG Maco’s flow on the Vine staple “U Guessed It.” On the track, her equally strained and cheerful delivery of “you snooze you lose” is both hilarious and frightening, a polarizing combo that Rico somehow makes work. On the more extreme end, the grinding guitar loop and feverish overdubs of “Let It Out” are expertly engineered to remedy the pent-up frustration and anxiety that have come to characterize not just this calendar year, but every single one before it.

Moving beyond rage, “iPhone” yearns for romance and conjures some of Rico’s most tender vocals, a considerable feat considering the maximalist production and extreme vocal effects of Dylan Brady’s production. Elsewhere, the flirty interplay between Aminé and Rico on “Back & Forth” is a welcome water break amidst the harder cuts, while the bubblegum singsong rap of the Don Toliver and Gucci Mane-assisted “Don’t Like Me” is a pleasant-but-forgettable pop number.

The second half of the album drags and struggles to match the vigor that preceded it: The pop-leaning “No Debate” is uncharacteristically devoid of emotion, while “Own It” has the kind of groove and vapid soundbites you might hear at a club more interested in bottle service than the mosh pits of Rico’s live shows. Even “Pussy Poppin,” which is structured around a loop that sounds strikingly similar to the Triggaman beat, awkwardly fails to capture the ass-shaking magic of New Orleans bounce despite being built off the genre’s secret sauce.

The deficiencies laid bare in the latter portion are almost wiped away by the “Smack a Bitch” remix. Featuring rap newcomers, ppcocaine, Sukihana, and Rubi Rose, the show-stopping posse cut takes the energy of the original, wraps it in explosives, and sets it on fire. Recalling the thrill of Nicki Minaj’s “Monster” verse, each rapper raises the bar set by the previous one, destroying and remaking the track as they go along. By the last verse, ppcocaine can barely be bothered to stay on beat as she threatens to run bitches over in her Tesla truck—it feels like you are riding shotgun with her. 

Nightmare Vacation bursts with potential, and while not all of it is realized, the moments that click signal that Rico is an artist with a strong gut, confidently expanding the boundaries of her craft. In a recent interview with Coveteur, Rico discussed wanting to make music that explicitly referenced recent social unrest but stopped because it felt “cheesy” and” forced.” Her catalog has always reflected the time: In an age of immeasurable loss, the power of her raw expression—whether it be screams or angsty croons for affection—lies in its ability to excavate and release those feelings, giving way to something new and hopeful.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Rico Nasty - Nightmare Vacation Music Album Reviews Rico Nasty - Nightmare Vacation Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 Rating: 5

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