by dj saratonin
Screaming and raging in the back of her songs, you’ll find Rico Nasty accompanied by her partner-in-crime Kenny Beats. The iconic duo began collaborating in 2017-2018, when they worked together on some of Rico Nasty’s most notorious tracks including Rage, Trust Issues, and many more on the infamous album, Nasty. Their new album release on April 25th, Anger Management, is a nine-long cathartic journey. You see, I’ve read some reviews online of the album. Some people mention that Rico and Kenny’s new project lacks somewhat originality (because of the sampling of Jay-Z’s song on Hatin) and consistency. Although Rico does pull from Jay-Z’s track, what artist nowadays doesn’t sample other artists? The arguments made against Rico and Kenny for this album, I believe lack a deeper, and more meaningful reading of the project. I’ve listened to this album on loop alone—and with my friends. From listening through and through, I can begin by saying that Rico did not disappoint; in lyrics, emotion, and energy, while Kenny brought us the fire of his dynamic beats.
Starting off with the song Cold, Rico rapidly runs through verses packed with energy and anger, alongside Kenny’s loud-pounding beats. This combination of Rico’s unmatched rage-rapping and creative mixing on top of consistent hard beats, gives us a taste of the emergence of punk hip-hop. This sub-genre of hip-hop is filled with the relief and intensity of releasing repressed emotions, much of which is tied politically to the lives of these rappers and their invaluable experiences in the world. In terms of Anger Management, Rico raps through her temper tantrum in songs Cold, Cheat Code, and Hatin, running first through her initial response to her own emotions, and bringing back that intense experience to inner-change with songs Sell Out and Again. Rico and Kenny Beats actually referred to this on their twitters, as well as the fact that the project was crafted in 5 days.
In the song Sell Out, Rico tells us the main drive behind her album, the fact that she “had a lot of built-up anger” she had to let out. She emphasizes this in her lyrics for Again, where she details her personal struggles, “Thought I fell in love but I found out that it was lust
I felt like something was missing, it must have been trust
Don’t like to talk about growing up, because I had it rough.” The discourse that she runs us through with the album is not only apparent in her lyrics, but also in Kenny Beats’ effort. When the album begins with songs Cold, Cheat Code, and Hatin, Kenny provides us with suspenseful beats in his production leading to Rico’s lyrics defending her credibility as a successful rapper. Kenny also adds in his touches of creative production elements, that make Rico’s album an experience through which we can find ourselves in relation to the emotions behind her lyrics and yells. It feels almost as if we are in a wrestling ring on a team with Rico, fighting those who question our ability to transform our lives.
The experience that I personally gained from Anger Management, is that staying grounded and truthful to yourself may be difficult in times of conflict, but will always remain a consistent part of you. When others are trying to shape you and discount your personal identity, anger is completely valid and the expression of it is a form of rejuvenation (as Rico says in Sell Out.) So despite what others may say, Anger Management, is not only a clever album with hard beats and rhymes, but also introduces a new way to understand our pain.