In 2017, Rico Nasty delivered her viral single “Poppin’,” which grabbed over five million views on YouTube thanks to its sharp visuals and rock-inspired rhymes. She kept the heat going a year later with “Smack A B*tch,” pairing her high-tempo lyricism with a song about life stresses. In the video, she dons a blue bubble coat, cat-ear headphones, and platform combat boots — à la goth girl.
“I don’t look normal, I always wear outrageous sh*t,” Rico tells Teen Vogue. “I don’t want to say I’m that famous, but when you see me, you see me.” Perhaps it’s her strikingly edgy aesthetic — heavy black eyeliner-lined eyes, studded boots, model gazes — or her commanding voice, but the 22-year-old artist, born Maria-Cecilia Simone Kelly to a Puerto Rican mother and African-American father, managed to transcend her local stomping grounds, have a baby as a teenager, and move further into the hip-hop stratosphere.