Rico Nasty - Las Ruinas Music Album Reviews

Rico Nasty - Las Ruinas Music Album Reviews
Rico Nasty’s latest project skews wider and weirder, even for her. Combining patented rage raps and tendering singing, its variety is overwhelming in every sense of the word.

Rico Nasty’s earliest and most recognizable songs, like the 2018 loosie “Smack a Bitch,” exist in the space between a hip-hop tribute to Lisa Frank and the mosh pit at a local dive’s pop-punk night. Genre-blending is a part of her musical DNA. Though Rico’s breakout project Nasty would be defined by the cathartic crunch of songs like “Bitch I’m Nasty,” its most interesting legacy has been as a foundation, the first time Rico’s influences—rap, nu metal, pop-punk, hyperpop—clashed and mutated against each other. She’s not the first artist to collapse these binaries, but her raw skill and enthusiasm make her output staggering. The thumping hardcore of Nasty’s “Trust Issues,” the murky boom bap of “Relative” from 2019’s Anger Management, and the jagged, sugary melodies of “IPHONE” from 2020’s Nightmare Vacation were all concocted by the same person.

At the outset, Rico compartmentalized her interests into personae like the softer, melodic Tacobella and the more aggressive Trap Lavigne. But after the success of Nasty, the alter egos became less useful as Rico began to embrace newfound stardom: Her musical and emotional range are elastic no matter what name she’s using. Even by Rico’s own grand standards, Las Ruinas—which she’s gone out of her way to label a “mixtape” and not an album—stretches her talents to their breaking point. Half the fun of a Rico Nasty project is seeing what spaces she’ll squeeze her vocals into next, and Las Ruinas skews wider and weirder than before. Its variety is overwhelming in every sense of the word.

Whatever you may think of her last few projects, particularly her last proper album Nightmare Vacation, her ability to host so many sounds without them dissolving into a mess is impressive. The first half of Las Ruinas continues to pit her patented rage raps against the wildest beats she can find. On “Vaderz,” Rico and guest Bktherula thrash their way through Ben10k, Danes Blood, and Dirty Dave’s 8-bit siren and craterous drums. Rico devours the scenery on standout track “Gotsta Get Paid,” which reunites her with Dylan Brady of 100 gecs. The duo, along with producers 18YOMAN and MXXWLL, use slinky drums and twangy synths—including a classic “dwoink” sound effect—to bridge the gap between rap bravado and Scooby-Doo: “Ain’t in my lane, what the fuck is you drivin’ for?/Pedal to the floor, they hatin’ because they bored.”

These slight deviations and tweaks to Rico’s formula are predictably tight, but the bolder experiments are a mixed bag. Las Ruinas is effectively split into two halves—the first one harsher, the second one softer—that have so little to do with each other sonically and thematically, they almost feel like separate EPs smashed together at the last minute. Right after her solid but unnecessary remix of electronic producer Fred again..’s “Jungle,” Las Ruinas’ tone shifts drastically. The put-downs and shit talk on the first half of the project disappear, giving way to a doomed love story told through bouts of electro-pop and grungy rap-rock that are raw at their best (“Into the Dark”) and fluffy and indistinct at their worst (“Focus on Me”). But “Easy” and closing track “Chicken Nugget,” in particular, strip away the bells and whistles to create two of the most tender moments in Rico’s catalog. Neither song features any rapping; instead, they lean on Rico’s soft singing voice for a lament about a past relationship with a manipulative partner and a touching ode to her 7-year-old son Cameron, respectively. They’re measured, pensive, and achingly intimate—firsts for any Rico Nasty song.

Las Ruinas’ best songs are sincere and heartfelt, regardless of genre, but it’s also the most unwieldy project of Rico’s career to date. The magnetic pull that held together Rico’s previous work feels less powerful. Transitions between songs can be stilted and awkward—the saccharine bubbliness of “Phuckin Lady” doesn’t flow into the metallic thump of “One on 5” and the “Jungle” remix has no business being the divider between the project’s two halves. Jumbled presentation can dull the impact of even the most sincere music, and Rico’s skill and imagination can’t save songs like “Black Punk” and “Dance Scream” from the filler bin. But beneath the technicolor pileup lies some of Rico’s most vicious (“Vaderz,” “Gotsta Get Paid”) and most sensitive (“Skullflower,” “Easy”) material yet. With a little finesse and better sequencing, it could’ve been greater than the sum of its parts.

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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 - Las Ruinas Music Album Reviews Rico Nasty - Las Ruinas Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, August 03, 2022 Rating: 5

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