Chicago hosted their first Red Bull SoundClash ever. Though the pandemic practically put an end to all shows in real life, the return of the Soundclash to American soil brought some unexpected line-ups. Atlanta hosted a clash between Westside Boogie and Shelley (f.k.a. D.R.A.M), while Chicago joined two of hip-hop’s most eccentric characters in the last decade to face-off against each other – Rico Nasty and Danny Brown. The pairing makes sense as there’s plenty of common ground they share – eccentric styles, distinctive voices, and a genuine rockstar flare that only a few carry authentically. 

Just a couple of hours ahead of her battle against Danny Brown, Rico Nasty offered HNHH a few minutes of her time to divulge on her return to the stage. Though it got off to a bit of a rocky start post-pandemic as she joined Playboi Carti on his tour earlier this year, she was in high spirits about joining Danny Brown for such a special evening.

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Rico Nasty performing at Red Bull SoundClash in Chicago - Image via Red Bull Content Pool 

“I just figured it would be really fun. I was excited to just be able to do whatever I wanted to with my performance. I think that’s really cool,” she said, hours before bringing out Queen Key and covering Chief Keef’s “Faneto” in Chicago. 

Aside from returning to actual stages, the Nightmare Vacation artist is currently enjoying the simple liberties of being outside, finally. Fans have hounded her for a follow-up to her December 2020 project but she explained that there’s a need to experience more of the post-pandemic world in order to inspire an entire body of work. 

“I think a lot of things that people forget with artists is that in order to make art you have to experience it, you have to live, you have to go through stuff. With the pandemic, I didn’t really go through anything. I didn’t do anything,” she explained. “If you’re not really living life, then there’s nothing to talk about. So, expect new music, it’ll be lit. I just have to take everything in.”

During our short catch-up with Rico Nasty, she went into further detail about her current creative mindstate, touring again, and following up Nightmare Vacation. 


HNHH: This line-up makes so much sense to have you two go head to head because of how eccentric he is and how out of the box you are. So, what was your first reaction when this SoundClash was proposed?

Rico Nasty: I just figured it would be really fun. I was excited to just be able to do whatever I wanted to with my performance. I think that’s really cool. You get to pick whatever beats. You get to pick whatever song we want to finish with – even if it’s not our song. Special guests. It seemed really cool.

Coming off of the pandemic, I know you’ve been doing a couple of shows. Rolling Loud looked crazy for you this year. What were some of the highs for you in terms of getting back into post-pandemic world?

It was really exciting for my son to start school. I was really scared about that. When you think pandemic, I was seeing so many kids I knew and obviously, the news and just like people weren’t going to school. I was just really scared that he would miss that experience that we all had of being able to go in class and have your friends and eat lunch and stuff. So, I was really happy about that. Obviously, the shows and stuff. I was very happy to be having those again because I was bored as f***.

What was the pandemic like for you? What were you up to?

Granted, I was still doing a lot of shows. I was doing a lot of virtual shows, which are kind of awkward, but shoutout to everybody who tuned into these and shoutout to everybody that booked me for those. We were all on the Zoom like, “This is equally awkward, but one day, life will be better than this.” Everybody was very optimistic. So, other than that, I learned how to cook during the pandemic which was cool because I’m getting older and I can’t keep eating fast food. It’s getting crazy out here. What else did I learn? I started working out. I think that was a pretty cool phase in my life.

"I was doing a lot of virtual shows, which are kind of awkward, but shoutout to everybody who tuned into these and shoutout to everybody that booked me for those. We were all on the Zoom like, “This is equally awkward, but one day, life will be better than this.” Everybody was very optimistic."

How did you start preparing? Was there anything in particular in terms of how you felt you were going to approach this show that you had in mind? Obviously, it’s not like your regular setlist, right?

Yeah. Well, we did rehearsals yesterday which I thought was cool because I’ve never really – well, we do rehearsals sometimes, but I don’t really do rehearsals that much. It was cool seeing how we’re going to mesh the two. I mean, it’s two different stages. Seeing how we’re going to cut from one another. I thought that was really fun to see. I mean, I think I learned a lot. I’m going to be utilizing my voice tonight to the best ability. That’s going to be fun for people to hear me rap. 

I know we just did an interview with you, you said The Nightmare Vacation follow-up isn’t currently in the works. So, what can fans expect from you in 2022?

I don’t know. I feel like people put so much pressure on what’s next and all this and I’m trying to take everything in right now, I guess. There will be new music. I’m not going to stop making music. I’m just a little busy right now. As soon as I’m able to go to the studio and actually lock-in and not just do like a two-hour session, then we lit. We back on it. I feel very inspired recently, and I’m very excited about the new music that I’m going to make.

"There will be new music. I’m not going to stop making music. I’m just a little busy right now. As soon as I’m able to go to the studio and actually lock-in and not just do like a two-hour session, then we lit. We back on it."

I mean “Money” goes hard. I was bumping it this morning. I was like, “Dang, this s**t is so catchy.

Thank you.

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Rico Nasty performing at Red Bull SoundClash in Chicago - Image via Red Bull Content Pool

Even with that, I know fans have been pressing you all about the collaborative project with Flo Milli, even creating little nicknames for a duo. For yourself, in the creative zone you’re in, how possible is that?

I feel like anything is possible once I’m able to be in the studio. Right now, with the tour, and then it’s about to be Christmas. I think a lot of things that people forget with artists is that in order to make art you have to experience it, you have to live, you have to go through stuff. With the pandemic, I didn’t really go through anything. I didn’t do anything. Kinda really not an inspiring time. I feel like right now, I’m living and everyday has been different. Like I said, I’m just trying to take it all in. I think the experiences are what make my music so fun. What makes you guys love it so much is because I talk about my life -- funny s**t, weird s**t, I talk about it. If you’re not really living life, then there’s nothing to talk about. So, expect new music, it’ll be lit. I just have to take everything in. 

Final question. The holidays are coming up, what are you most excited about?

Honestly, bro, I’m most excited about this elf on the shelf s**t my mom has going right now. It’s pretty funny. My mom keeps moving this elf all around the house and sending me pictures of it and I show my son and make-believe like the elf has been moving around the house. It’s just a really funny thing that we do. So, I’m excited to see Cam’s reaction to the elf on Christmas. Obviously, his gifts and stuff. I’m very excited to be with my family and bring in this new year. I know COVID had a lot of people sick, and it’s still getting a lot of people sick. A lot of people just want to spend time with their family.