‘Las Ruinas’ Is Rico Nasty’s Coffee Bean

The album offers a deeper look at Maria Kelly, the woman behind the Rico Nasty persona.

Music 
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Thanks to her arresting adlibs like “WOAHH,” “HUH HUH YEAH” and “KENNYYYY,” it’s hard to confuse a Rico Nasty track with music from any other artist. With a multifaceted rap-rock cadence and unique dripped-out style, Rico Nasty has carved out her own lane over the past seven years. But after releasing a catalog of mixtapes plus one studio album since stepping on the scene, it was time for the Maryland-born rapper to reset with her latest project, Las Ruinas. Whereas previous works exalted the rockstar Rico Nasty, her latest mixtape offers a closer look at Maria Kelly, the woman behind the persona. ‘Las Ruinas’ Is Rico Nasty’s Coffee Bean Music

To date, Rico Nasty’s sound has always harbored a “can’t f*ck with me” attitude. In the 2018 track “Smack A B*tch,” she details never letting anyone get in your way. “Don’t worry about a b*tch / Who never been in your place / Always move in silence / Never question your fate.” Beyond this track, songs like “Hard,” “Party Goin Dumb,” “Watch Me,” “Ice Cream” and “Rage” have fueled the rapper’s confident, ambitious and impenetrable attitude. Because these rage-filled elements have become synonymous with Rico Nasty’s sound and persona, she wanted to reorient herself while cultivating her latest project. She’s not leaving this attitude behind, but rather revealing the full spectrum of her personality.

“I wanted to get back to learning new things and almost like looking at music from a standpoint of smells [on this album]. After you smell a lot of different sh*t, you have to smell some coffee beans [to clear your palate]. Creatively, this project is like coffee beans for me.”

“I don’t look at it like evolution, I’m just having fun,” Nasty says. “I wanted to get back to learning new things and almost like looking at music from a standpoint of smells. After you smell a lot of different sh*t, you have to smell some coffee beans [to clear your palate]. Creatively, this project is like coffee beans for me.” Nasty has always done the dash and she’ll forever want to rage, but Las Ruinas gave her a new opportunity to up the stakes. Usually, it’s fair game for artists and their producers to make tracks using beat packs while putting a project together. But for this mixtape, Rico Nasty built each beat from scratch – promoting herself from rapper to rapper/producer. In exercising her specific sonic interests, building beats alongside writing and rapping became a means to expand her musical intellect. “My longest studio session [while making the mixtape] was 72 hours,” she says. “I’m not even in there worrying about rapping anymore, I’m more focused on the overall craft of music.”

The knowledge that came from making Las Ruinas was not one-dimensional. In addition to learning about production and music on a more technical level, Rico Nasty uncovered the expansion of her own creativity. With it, she posits what could sonically be her most multi-dimensional work to date with elements of hip-hop, rap, electronic and alternative. By simply exploring and having fun with each track, the project served almost as a diary to where she is now musically.

Even with this experimentation, the mixtape still blends elements of the rapper’s previous projects. “Focus On Me” harbors an emotional cadence reminiscent of “Brandon” and “Wanna Know” from Tales of Tacobella as well as the single “Time Flies.” Although the themes range from matters of love to her path to success, emotional revelations always find a sweet spot in the rapper’s music.

“I do think I was heavily inspired by myself and my early music because that’s what people fell in love with me for. I was thinking this is me five years from then, so what do I want to talk about? I decided I should talk about love and things that have hurt me.”

The fun-filled and soft-sided songs on Las Ruinas shouldn’t be mistaken for weakness, as they paint a fuller picture of the artist. In painting that picture, she had to tap back into the styles, flows, themes and feelings that have brought her to the current moment, while also expanding her horizons.

“I got caught up in the character and characteristics of Rico Nasty. It took the power away from me and my creativity. This project redirected that.”

“I got caught up in the character and characteristics of Rico Nasty. It took the power away from me and my creativity. This project redirected that.” As her most personal project to date, Las Ruinas offers a closer look at the woman behind Rico Nasty. We’re no longer just looking at or listening to the superstar who’s known to rage in head-to-toe designer. We’re looking at Maria Kelly – who is a mother, daughter and friend alongside her role as a rapper. Finishing off the mixtape is a love-laden letter to her son, Cameron, calmly reiterating the fact that Kelly not only finds strength in being a rockstar but being human as well. ‘Las Ruinas’ Is Rico Nasty’s Coffee Bean Music

“I think that Maria Kelly is the main person that we’re hearing on this project,” explained Nasty. “I just hope this project attracts new energy.”

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