Rico Nasty’s contagiously energetic performance at ‘Webster Hall’

Sheila Rafizadeh, Staff Writer

The University’s annual Unleashed concert, held by P.A.C.E. Board, is a highly anticipated end-of-year concert featuring popular artists in genres ranging from hip-hop, rock, pop and R&B. This year’s event kicked off with an opening performance by British R&B group FLO. The London-based girl group consists of members Renée Downer, Stella Quaresma and Jorja Douglas. The group was created in 2019, and their breakthrough single, “Cardboard Box,” came out before their first EP, “The Lead.”

The group was accompanied by a full band of electric guitar, bass and drums. Opening with the song “Immature,” the group immediately captured the attention of the audience with their choreography and high notes, after which Quaresma enthusiastically livened up the audience and mentioned, “It’s very cool of your University to do this,” referring to the event itself. They then followed their set with songs from their EP. The song “Feature Me” received praise from the crowd after Quaresma hit one of the group’s infamous high notes and ended in Douglas shouting at the crowd to “make some noise for our favorite song!”

Later on during their set, they played a few unreleased songs that they had been working on and, afterward, briefly exited the stage as the lead guitarist began playing a solo. The solo was followed by a backdrop of footage of the group displayed on the projector behind the stage. With this, they entered again and began the second half of their set by discussing the importance of female friendships. The singers preached support for one another and ended the discussion with a heartfelt performance, leaving the audience holding up flashlights and lighters in the venue.

FLO’s performance style is very interactive, as they are constantly talking to the audience. While transitioning to their new single “Fly Girl,” which features Missy Elliot, they asked the audience who had their nails and hair done, referring to their well-known song.

Finally, they ended the show with a performance of their most popular song, “Cardboard Box.” On their way off the stage, they signed an autograph for a fan, thanked the crowd for coming out, and walked out to the band playing in the background. After a 20-minute waiting period, Rico Nasty’s accompanying DJ arrived on stage. Rico Nasty rose to fame in 2018 with singles such as “Smack a Bitch” and “Poppin.” The Maryland rapper also grew in popularity after her infamous collaboration with singer Doja Cat in her single “Tia Tamera,” which quickly grew Rico Nasty’s name in early 2019.

In order to energize the crowd for Rico’s performance, the DJ began playing popular hip-hop songs such as “Just Wanna Rock” by Lil Uzi Vert. This got the crowd dancing and, eventually, chanting for Rico Nasty to come on stage. The chant, led by the DJ when stating, “When I say Rico, you say Nasty,” ended in cheers as she eventually entered the stage and immediately began performing her hit song “OHFR?”. Throughout the performance, she played songs like “Poppin” and “Into the Dark” while simultaneously keeping up with an energetic and lively stage presence, exciting the crowd.

While FLO used synchronized choreography and interactive questions to maintain the audience’s attention, Rico Nasty took a different approach, utilizing her active stage presence to pique the crowd’s interest, hardly interacting with the audience until the last few songs of her set. Even so, the audience was riveted as students and fans were shouting, jumping and dancing. In the few instances where she spoke to members of the audience, she made sure to make memorable and unique comments. While complimenting a fan’s makeup, she had the crowd hooked.

Throughout the performance, Rico played a significant number of songs from “Las Ruinas.” Songs like “Gotsta Get Paid,” although newer, were still very popular among the audience. After her performance of “Mad Rich” and “Pressing Me,” Rico Nasty briefly stopped for a moment to let the crowd know that “I’m having a blast with you guys,” further reiterating this by stating, “I’m having so much fun I thought I almost lost my voice for a second.” The rapper also performed a couple of her popular features, such as “WE MADE IT” by Bktherula and the well-known “Tia Tamera,” which had the audience singing along.

Her show ended abruptly around 9:30 p.m. as a fan threw their phone onto the stage. Rico Nasty asked whom the phone belonged to before throwing it back to the fan and jokingly saying, “you crazy b*tch” while exiting the stage, leaving the audience in laughter and confusion.