Monday, December 9th, 2019

Rico Nasty – Time Flies

Week 2 of AMNESTY FORTNIGHT!!!!111!11!1 begins with this prolific rapper, and our highest score thus far.


Leah Isobel: The images of flight and air — time, planes, weather, death — and the track’s headsick treble aren’t exactly uneasy, but like Rico’s hook they aren’t exactly grounded either. They’re surreal, blasted with light and low on contrast, compressed into a small pocket of space. This is a great look for Rico, who seems to get energy from confined spaces. Her characteristic yawp doesn’t feel angry here, or even gleeful, but content; she glides down on a wind current to boast about her back porch and then skates away again. From the sky, everyone’s problems seem so small.

Julian Axelrod: Every rapper these days is dead, dying, or wants to die. It’s all very bleak, and we’re living in a very bleak world, and music writers rejoice at the thematic consistency of it all. But in a year where death and despair haunted every corner of daily life, nothing brought me more catharsis than a scream-sung ode to being alive. Rico Nasty’s music is often characterized by its rage, which is understandable; how many artists make you wanna break cinderblocks just by trilling their own name? But her anger is always undercut with glee, like she’s relishing every moment before she obliterates your entire shit. “Time Flies” pushes this duality into thrilling new territory, as Rico turns her warrior cry into a pop star croon over wheezing reflecting pool synths. Her guttural wail of “Five days straight no rest, oh well” is a statement of weary triumph after scaling unimaginable heights. (Now accepting funding for my Rico Nasty biopic Women on the Verge of a Nervous Bussdown.) She knows she could die at any moment; we all could. But these rare moments of hard-earned joy form a worthy legacy.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Rico Nasty and Kenny Beats’s Anger Management collaboration is a 9-track, 18-minute display of pure, explosive energy. Released several months after, “Time Flies” is the moment she takes a moment to survey the wreckage and reflect on how she got to the top. The lyricism here is stellar, reflecting urgency and rejecting complacency (“I live every day like I’ll die by the nighttime”), and also celebrating, however uneasily (“Nothing ever lasts long, I’m always beating the odds”). Rico Nasty’s flow is melodic, peak-Uzi, almost sweet — but she’s still going as hard in the way that we’ve come to expect. 

Alfred Soto: Dance music is all the more compelling when an anonymity handles the vocals. Anonymity and blankness aren’t synonymous, though. Rico Nasty is neither, but she sings like a regular person, a woman sorting out problems with which we tousle every week. 

Kayla Beardslee: Given all the year-end list blurbs I’ve read about Anger Management being a vicious, snarling project, this bright song was not what I expected from my first listen to Rico Nasty. That’s not a bad thing, though: the lyrics are about Rico working her ass off to succeed, but this would be a perfect soundtrack to a laid-back summer drive. “Time Flies” does, however, take a bit to prove its message. The first verse is a generic “wow I’m great, bitches be mad” brag that could be transplanted into an entirely different song (say, a phoned-in Minaj guest verse) without losing anything, but the second verse does expand on the ways Rico has worked to build her fame — traveling the world, signing deals, taking action to change her life rather than complaining — finally justifying the chorus’s urge to make the most of your life while you can.

Iain Mew: The backing is neon bright and keeps up a bubbly excitement, especially in the high pitched synths that float across, but there’s a certain grinding quality to its incessant progression as well. That’s perfect for Rico Nasty, whose delivery of “oh well” alone gets across all the same feelings even more vividly. It adds up to a song that’s a surge of positive energy with plenty of depth within it too.

Kylo Nocom: Every time I play this I receive diminishing returns. The beat to this sounds like the Uzi material I listened to in 2016 and yet it’s still so unfeeling. Rico’s attempted profundities sustain the song, but only just enough, never attaining any degree of excellence.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: On Nasty, Rico was a rapper almost entirely composed of rage and spite. On tracks like “Transformer,” she made punk-rap wannabees like Lil Gnar seem like try-hards, her anger so pure and chaotic that it was almost unpleasant at times. In the year since Nasty, she’s managed to take that anger and distill it into something joyful and freeing. On her collab tape with Kenny Beats and the one-off single she did with “Mo Bamba” producers Take a Daytrip, she mixed around with flows and experimental production. Here, though, she takes a Madden soundtrack loosie and goes full melodic on it, sounding like a more coherent Uzi, a exuberant prophet that floats on a sci-fi beat. It’s almost too clean, lacking some of the edge that earlier iterations of Rico wore, but it’s a good enough time that such concerns seem like quibbles.

Nortey Dowuona: A shimmering synth mosaic with a frozen layer of bass blankets a shuddering percussion line, and thumbing bass drums buoy Rico’s sharp yet plaintive voice. She thoughtfully ponders the sudden shortening of her days ahead.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: It leaves a strong impression because the wind tunnel production is pleasant; it’s calming in its false tumult. Rico Nasty has some good melodies but this is a song that has the odd effect of feeling like it’s entirely inconsequential, sounding both too short and too long. It’s like keeping a half-decent TikTok video on repeat for three straight minutes.

Reader average: [8] (2 votes)

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