Candy and music share quite a bit in common. One taste, and you’re hooked. One listen, and you keep pressing play over and over again… Sweet, salty, and sassy, Rico Nasty raps hollow point hooks and carries candy-coated choruses over a stream of bright, buoyant production as if she re-built Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory in the hood surrounded by a plume of good smoke. Known to wear LED signage on her platform boots and equally influenced by Sailor Moon and The Purge, the DMV rapper, producer, and singer turns up with 14 chaotic confections on her 2017 offering, Sugar Trap 2. “It’s a sugar rush when you listen to me,” she grins. “Once you hear it, you’re like, ‘Whoa, what the fuck? I just want to eat more.’ I call it the ‘Candy Effect’. That’s Sugar Trap 2. This world welcomes everyone. It’s only getting bigger by the day. Eat it up now.” Rico began fashioning this world in her head as a child. Born to a musician dad, she definitely possessed a rap gene, but it laid dormant until tenth grade. Growing up in a “hella, hella, hella hood area,” she bodied her guy friends with a rapid cadence and impressive swagger on early bedroom recordings. Following the release of the artist’s debut mixtape Summer’s Eve during 2014, she drummed up a burgeoning buzz online. However, a life-changing event kicked everything into high gear. “When I graduated high school, I got pregnant with my son,” she recalls. “I spent a lot of time going on YouTube, watching endless makeup tutorials, and seeing girls do what they want for a living. I thought, ‘What can I do that I love? I’m about to give birth. I don’t want to be the parent who comes home and takes out work shit on my kid.’ It made me take a really deep look into my future.” Cooking up “iCarly” in 2016, she sent shockwaves through Soundcloud, generating over 856K plays on the breakthrough viral hit. Name-checking the Nickelodeon classic of the same name, “Hey Arnold” exploded next. Blown away by the original, Lil Yachty hopped on the remix and total streams surpassed 3.7 million on Spotify and 1.6 million on Soundcloud within less than a year. As she released Tales of Tacobella, everyone from Washington Post and The Fader to Complex, XXL, and Pigeons & Planes featured her. She spent the year carefully assembling what would become Sugar Trap 2. “It’s colorful,” she explains. “It brings sugary sweetness, but a lot of the songs are trap. I’m just talking about hood shit in a slicker way. It’s the first of many real projects for me. I’m super excited to give people something different. I’d spend like 32 hours in the studio at a time to make this perfect. To sum up the vibe, it’s beating a bitch’s ass wearing a purple skirt and smiling. You’re finding happiness in crazy shit. That’s what I’ve done my whole life.” She introduced the project with the anthemic “Poppin,” which landed a high-profile placement on HBO’s Insecure. The follow-up “Blue” tempered a wistful nursery rhyme sing-song melody with lines like, “Kill a bitch with kindness, rumor is I’m lying. I don’t like you I won’t hide it.” The anime-esque cinematic flare of “Key Lime OG” quickly snaps on a blunted-out rhyme before another unshakable chant. Meanwhile, “Rojo” transforms braggadocios-ness into a crimson-colored chant. Constantly flipping the script, each song can be attributed to one of her alter egos—the cute and coy crooning of Tacobella, the “popping ass bitch” bars of Rico Nasty, or the hyped-up ad-libs of Trap Levigne. “Tacobella is the singer for real,” she explains. “I got that name from loving Taco Bell. I don’t wait for it. When I want Taco Bell, I need it right then and there…No fucking up my order either. She’s the emotional one on ‘Blue’ and ‘Rojo.’ Rico is the stronger one with the hot bars and punk grunge power. She’s the enforcer and the boss of everybody. You hear her on ‘Key Lime OG’ and ‘Poppin.’ Trap is here to stay. He’s the young energetic one with the ad libs and mosh pit style on ‘Ar-15.’ I’ve mastered the art of giving each character space now. When I was younger, I’d spend a lot of time alone trying to figure shit out. I was an only child. I’m too competitive to be in a group, so these three help me reach different audiences.” The single “SpaceShip” blasts off to another realm altogether. Intergalactic bleeps and bloops resound in tandem with airy flutes before the MC unloads a visceral verse and intergalactic chorus. “I’m showing the glamorous life isn’t what people think it is,” she goes on. “When I’m in the bathtub, I’m the most relaxed. I’m able to time travel in my mind. It’s like a ‘SpaceShip.’ I think about the future or some things that happened in the past. That was the vision.” In the end, Rico extends an invitation into a different place altogether with Sugar Trap 2. “When you hear my music, I don’t want you to be angry, but I want you to feel something,” she leaves off. “I can go crazy, or I can be classy and sing. This is my personality. It’s good, bad, crazy, happy, and all of these emotions in one. It’s my fucking world, man.”

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