Sugar trap queen Rico Nasty came to Brooklyn on her first headlining tour since 2019, and her legions of hardcore, mosh-pit-loving fans shook the floors of the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday night.
With her unique style and sound, a witch’s brew of carefree punk and new-age grunge mixed with banging trap and Gen-Z hyperpop, Rico has amassed a loyal fan base of young fans who have waited patiently throughout the pandemic for her to go on tour. At Wednesday’s concert, she treated a sold-out crowd to rocking renditions from her 2020 studio album “Nightmare Vacation,” her 2022 mixtape “Las Ruinas” and classics from her past releases like “Sugar Trap 2” and “Nasty.”
Chants of “Rico! Rico! Rico!” rang out in the 650-person audience at the Music Hall of Williamsburg before the 25-year-old rapper took the stage. A short DJ set hyped up the young crowd, who sang along word-for-word to viral hits from Lil Uzi Vert, Megan Thee Stallion, Ice Spice, Drake and more.
The concert crowd erupted when Rico finally took the stage and sang “OHFR” and “Trust Issues,” two head-banging songs that were merely appetizers for what would soon break out. She strutted, jumped and twerked around the stage in striped, black-and-white platform boots and a pink mini-dress with matching black-and-white pockets, like a Beetlejuice Princess Peach. A fuzzy, pink bunny hat with two floppy ears hung on for dear life as she bounced around the stage. Standing guard on either side of Rico were two giant inflatables: a sunflower and pumpkin that both sported creepy, skeletal grins and smiley gum piercings like Rico herself.
Many of the raging fans were dressed in similar fashion, with plenty of colorful hair, fishnets and leather in the crowd. On three separate occasions, however, people may have partied too hard as Rico had to stop the music to call for security to assist guests in need. She even helped throw water bottles to overheated fans and told concert workers to grab extra water from her dressing room.
Despite the minor hiccups in the night, Rico carried on performing an impressively high-energy set. Halfway through, she pulled out a stool to sit and slow things down with her mellow verse on Injury Reserve’s “Jawbreaker” and “Phuckin Lady” from “Las Ruinas.” After a brief interlude where she had an assistant carefully reapply her makeup on stage, Rico amped things back up with her furious, breakout single “Smack a Bitch” and her appropriately titled track “Rage.” The crowd turned into a living wave, moshing and crashing into each other as strobes and pink and green lights washed over everyone. After the chaos died down, Rico ended on a calmer note and sang her verse from Bktherula’s “We Made It.” The night closed out with her legions of fans chanting “You hate but you wish you was us.”
Since coming onto the rap scene in 2017 with her first major release, “Tales of Tacobella,” Rico has blown up to 1.9 million followers on Instagram and 2.1 million on TikTok. Her infectiously catchy hooks have made her a TikTok favorite, with nearly half a million videos using her song “Smack a Bitch” and 160,000 using “Tia Tamera,” her collab with fellow female rapper Doja Cat. She’s also worked with the likes of hit producer Kenny Beats, Megan Thee Stallion, Kali Uchis, Denzel Curry and hyperpop duo 100 Gecs.
After a busy week for the hip-hop industry, from headlines decrying the use of “AI Drake” in a fake song to Frank Ocean pulling out of Coachella’s second weekend after a disappointing set, there’s something uniquely refreshing about Rico’s performance. Her brand of “sugar trap” is wholly her own and unmatched. She juxtaposes her upbeat, bubbly lyrics with occasionally scream-o vocals and trap beats; she’s sugar and spice, sweet and sour, like a thorny rose or acid bubblegum. Rico has carved out her own section of the rap game, and so far she’s the master chef of her secret recipe of sugar trap.