Playboi Carti's tour made Rico Nasty feel unwelcome, her community responded : Louder Than A Riot Rico Nasty's music creates a haven for heavy emotions. And in a world that paints Black girls showing any emotion as too much, having a place to release anger and anxiety is essential. But when Rico joined the 2021 Playboi Carti tour, his fans harassed her repeatedly and that safety was stripped away. On this episode, we talk with Rico about keeping a brave face, hear from a fan who was there in the crowd, and ask: When the outlet for your anger is shut down, how do you get your power back?

What doesn't kill you makes you a strong Black woman: Rico Nasty

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A warning before we begin - this podcast is explicit in every way, and this episode mentions suicidal thoughts.


TALILLE JARO: I was over at a friend's house, and she was always having kind of, like, house parties. And at one of her house parties, she had music video after music video of Rico Nasty just playing. I know for a fact it - one of the music videos was "Smack A B****." Definitely. Yeah.


RICO NASTY: (Rapping) Don't worry about a b**** who never been in your place. Always move in silence. Never question your fate. Always check in on your n*****. Got to make sure they straight. If I'm getting money, then you know we all...

MADDEN: The music video opens with Rico alone in a low-lit hallway, chunky black boots, smeared eyeliner and Rico's expression - that smirk of defiance over screaming guitar chords.


RICO NASTY: (Rapping) I don't need your opinion. Do what I f***ing want. You such a f***ing...

MADDEN: It makes it hard to look away.

JARO: And I just sat there in awe.

MADDEN: And when was this? Like, how old were you?

JARO: Like, 16 or 17.

MADDEN: Rodney, we've all had those moments in adolescence - right? - where you hear a song and it just sticks with you forever. It speaks to you.


Oh, you're talking about that song that, like, shapes your soul for the rest of your life.

MADDEN: Exactly. You know the one. Like, for me, I can definitely recite all the lyrics to Nicki Minaj's "Itty Bitty Piggy" or even her "Monster" verse with the same type of mmm (ph) as if I'm running around campus with my girls.

CARMICHAEL: See, I'm thinking "Bonita Applebum," Tribe Called Quest or something like that.

MADDEN: Oh, OK. I like it. Well, for Talille Jaro, a recent college grad living in Portland, that song was Rico Nasty's "Smack A B****."

JARO: I'd never heard music like this from someone who looked like me. So I was very, like, enthralled in her music from the very first time I saw it.

MADDEN: The magic of "Smack A B****" is pretty undeniable. That simultaneous restraint and warning shot in her lyrics - it's low-key Rico's calling card, just as much rap as it is punk.

JARO: I felt empowerment. Her voice just in general, like, screaming the song, like, it just awoken something in me to just feel comfortable. And it's OK to be, like, angry. She kind of made me feel more comfortable in myself.


RICO NASTY: (Rapping) You can't even handle a b**** like me. Make my own money, and I buy my own weed. Touch my wrist and your hand going to freeze. Begging for the kitty on his hands and knees. Who you fronting on? Come on, girl. I know you a rookie.

MADDEN: The message and sound of Rico's music resonates so deep, and it's so important for Black girls to hear because in a world that paints you showing any emotion as you being too much, too loud, too difficult, too ratchet, Rico is telling us to lean in to those things. Channel that anger instead of muting it. And Talille wanted to be a part of it in real life.

JARO: When I saw that Rico Nasty is going on tour, I was so excited. Like, this is, like, the first time I'm ever going to be able to see her. Like, I was just so pumped. I was like, I have to buy these tickets. Like, I'm going.

MADDEN: In 2021, Rico went on tour with Playboi Carti. It was a huge look. It was supposed to be a triumphant moment for her career and her fans - their biggest chance to all rage together. But that moment was taken from them.


RICO NASTY: So get it off your chest. Come on.

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting) Turn it off. Turn it off. Turn it off. Turn it off (ph).


MADDEN: I'm Sidney Madden.

CARMICHAEL: I'm Rodney Carmichael. And from NPR Music, this is LOUDER THAN A RIOT.

MADDEN: Where we confront the double standard that's become the standard.

CARMICHAEL: On every episode this season, we tackle one unwritten rule of hip-hop that affects the most marginalized among us and holds the entire culture back.

MADDEN: And one that a new generation of rap refuses to stand for. When the outlet for your anger gets shut down, how do you get it back? Rico Nasty keeps it real about the tour that went left.

RICO NASTY: I don't care if you know how to fight or if you're the toughest b**** in the world. It's about standing up for yourself. It's about remaining powerful throughout the draining.

MADDEN: On this episode, Rule No. 8 - what doesn't kill you makes you a strong, Black woman.

Hey, y'all. Before we get started, we need to acknowledge something. Since we reported out this story, Playboi Carti was arrested on assault charges related to domestic violence. The case has been dismissed. But because this all happened after we wrapped our reporting, you aren't going to hear us talking about it in this episode. All right. Let's get into it.

First, let's start with where we're at right now.

RICO NASTY: Right now we are at one of my favorite studios, and I am here with you.

MADDEN: This is a really, like, in-the-cut studio. It's at the bottom of a hotel and stuff.

RICO NASTY: Yeah. I used to stay at...

CARMICHAEL: Sid, I know you spent a lot of time with Rico Nasty over the last year talking about everything that went down on this Playboi Carti tour.

MADDEN: Yeah, I did. We linked up a couple times to talk about it. In LA, we met at this moody underground studio in West Hollywood. They had candles burning everywhere and black and purple decor.


MADDEN: Mmm-hmm.

RICO NASTY: I think I did - my longest session in here was, like, 18 hours or something.

MADDEN: Jesus.

RICO NASTY: I like long sessions.


And every time we talked, she stayed hyping up her fans. She calls them Nasty Mob.

RICO NASTY: They get to come to the show, and they get in a mosh pit. And these little girls that normally are hella timid and shy, they get in the mosh pit. And n***** are like, oh s***. This b**** is crazy. It's a power. It's like, we are going to infiltrate the male pit, and we will make these n***** die. Like they're...


RICO NASTY: ...Crazy. Hella powerful, hella powerful. They're not scared.

MADDEN: They've dubbed themselves Nasty Mob because they mob out for Rico and for each other, online and in real life. You can see it in the pits. Her fans go hard, and they aren't just there for themselves. They want everyone around them to have a good time.

RICO NASTY: I've seen so many mosh pits where it's like a big-ass, six-foot n**** just passed out. And the girls are like, please, gently - don't drop him. Security. They're so sweet to one another.

MADDEN: That energy of Rico's shows, it makes them stand out.


UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting) Rico, Rico, Rico.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: You are my sis. You are my queen. I love you. I love you.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: We waiting in this hot, 99-degree sun. But we going to see you. So we...

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Rapping) Diamonds in my ear, so it's hard for me to listen.

RICO NASTY: This seems real. It seems like you really do like me.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: I do. I really do.

RICO NASTY: Let's go.

MADDEN: So when Playboi Carti's team was looking to make the show lineup for his tour, Rico was a natural choice.

RICO NASTY: He's like, oh, she rock her shows. Don't no b**** rock a show like me, and I will die beside that. Nobody rocks shows like me. And he saw that. Like, he respected me. And it was respecting.

MADDEN: Rico was excited to get this look from Carti. She'd always wanted a cross-country tour. Plus, it was a bag. So of course, she said yes. She started off the tour vlogging the whole experience.


RICO NASTY: There's no b******. It's going to be n*****. So you can't play "Poppin."

MADDEN: In her first vlog, she's on stage in Nashville doing soundcheck.


RICO NASTY: (Rapping) What? You got to be quicker than that, b****.

MADDEN: Rico was feeling it. She was having fun, joking around on her very first tour bus and getting to meet a ton of fans across the country.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: It's a dream to meet you.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: I just want to say I'm such a big fan of yours.

RICO NASTY: What's your name? Wait, what's your name?

TAMELA: Tamela (ph).

RICO NASTY: Tamela and Rico Nasty.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #6: (Rapping) Smoking so much gas, I forgot to put my mask on.

MADDEN: After a year inside, Nasty Mob showing up and showing out for Rico, it was really energizing to her. But each night, looking out at the crowds, it was becoming obvious how different her fans were from Carti's.


MADDEN: I'm just trying to think of how to square those things. Like, he handpicked you 'cause he knew you're - you rage at your shows, same as him. Theoretically, there would be, like, an overlap, maybe, in the fan base.

RICO NASTY: Yeah, but that's the thing, though. Like, I think my fans are too Black (laughter). That was a thing. We was talking about this s*** on tour. Like, yeah, like, Carti fans are - there was a lot of white boys, I'm not going to lie. But they still - there was still Black people. Let's be for real. Rage or not, it's a rap concert. So our whole thing was like, our s*** is for the n***** that's not passing, you know what I mean? Like, for the n*****, like, you Black. You're not getting around this. That's what my fan base is. And they're - his fan base is more like, I get pulled over by the cops, they're not really going to think I'm Black (laughter).

MADDEN: So even though Rico peeped it, it wasn't anything serious. I mean, they went from Nashville to Oklahoma City to Phoenix - 15 shows and things were going smooth. But then, a month in, something shifted. They got to LA to play at The Forum in Inglewood. When Rico took the stage for her opening set, the crowd seemed restless, disinterested. People were talking over her, and those convos got louder, then rowdier. Then they started to boo her.

So did everything happening feel antagonistic?

RICO NASTY: It felt like, yeah, like, she's a Black girl. We don't want her up to here. She's not shaking a**, bro. Straight like that. If she not shaking a**, we do not want to see this s***. But that's what you go to the strip club for, not a rap show. So have some couth.


MADDEN: Rico felt like she had to respond. So after the show, she started tweeting. We got one of our friends to read out her tweets.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #7: (Reading) Y'all mothers should have swallowed you little pissy (ph) frogs. Yeah, I said it. Not deleting s***. Try me again. I'll fly off the stage and possess you. Anti-Black-a** crowd. Weak-a** little boys with blonde pubes. Get me out of here.


RICO NASTY: I think what happened was I disrespected his fans, plain and simple.

MADDEN: All right. Hold up. We spent a lot of time talking about Rico fans, but we need to talk about Carti fans. And as a hip-hop journalist, I know his music, but his fandom is kind of foreign to me. I'm not the one to tell you about it. But luckily, we have someone on our team who can. What's up, Mano?


MADDEN: Tell the people who you are.

SUNDARESAN: So, I'm Mano Sundaresan. I'm a producer on LOUDER THAN A RIOT, and I run a music blog called "No Bells." We basically cover a bunch of the internet/zoomer rap, artists like Yeat, Ken Carson and, of course, Playboi Carti, the one who kind of started it all.

MADDEN: OK. So as our resident expert on all this, if you can, give me it in two sentences. How would you describe a Playboi Carti fan?

SUNDARESAN: Two sentences. Wow. Yeah, I feel like - OK, there's a lot to unpack here because I think it starts with a fan base in Atlanta. His fan base back then was just Atlanta rap fans kind of in that alt scene, but it really morphed into something a lot more unwieldy, especially as he sort of reached more of this Hypebeast status. Now the image that just pops in my head is toxic white dude, honestly. But that's another story.

MADDEN: No, but tell me that story, though.

SUNDARESAN: Carti fans are just - they're just different, honestly.


SUNDARESAN: And we're not talking about all Carti fans - right? - but, like, there is definitely this contingent of them that really deified him. They really go crazy online and, you know, sometimes even trolling people on the internet.

MADDEN: Yeah, but it seems like Carti's fan base compared to other rabid fan bases - their actions take on this very purposefully destructive quality, you know what I mean?

SUNDARESAN: Yeah, totally, sometimes even destructive to Carti's own career. Carti fans - and I'm talking about a contingent of them, not all of them - they have leaked Carti's music many, many times. There's a whole album's worth of material that will probably never see the light of day for this reason. And sometimes they can get really destructive with other people online as well.

MADDEN: Yeah, and in real life.



SUNDARESAN: It can sometimes feel like what Carti represents is counterculture. But when his fan base is so sort of mainstream and so center, it feels a lot more like rebellion for rebellion's sake.

MADDEN: OK. OK. Well, thanks, Mano.

SUNDARESAN: Thanks, Sid.

MADDEN: So that difference that Mano just laid out is what Rico was confronted with on tour. With those tweets, Rico agitated his fans, and some of them started trolling her online hard. Carti let her know how they could be.

RICO NASTY: He's like, bro, they're crazy, bro. I'm telling you, don't argue with them. Carti, he's like, literally, don't argue with them. They're f***ing nuts. Like, they, like, invade my privacy all the time. Just don't even pay attention to that s***.

MADDEN: Rico tried to take Carti's advice and ignore them, which made Carti's fans go even harder. Three nights later, at the next show in San Diego, they booed her again.


RICO NASTY: F***ing stand here. Y'all can say whatever the f*** you want. But I don't got to perform nothing.

MADDEN: Her DJ kept dropping bombs and her artist tag to offset the Carti chants.


RICO NASTY: B****, we going to sit in motherf***ing silence. Don't you f***ing play. What the f*** do you think this is, b****? It's not that. It's not that. I love my fans. So get it off your chest. Come on, harder.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #8: You guys are such f***ing haters.

MADDEN: After Rico left the stage, the lights went dark, and Carti came out, bouncing around almost like a little puppet vampire.


PLAYBOI CARTI: (Rapping, inaudible).

MADDEN: He didn't say a word, and the show went on like nothing happened.


PLAYBOI CARTI: (Rapping, inaudible).

MADDEN: A couple of TikToks of Rico getting booed that night went viral. One video got millions of views and tens of thousands of comments. Some media outlets aggregated those social posts, but the coverage didn't go much deeper than that. This tour was not going how Rico had dreamed.

RICO NASTY: Doja and Flo Milli were texting me throughout the whole tour every week. You good? You good? You good? You good? You good? You OK? I love you. You need a hug? Sending me funny shit.

FLO MILLI: It was very horrible to see. Like, it really broke my heart, you know, because I really do love Rico, and to see somebody you love, like, get mistreated like that, it was just - the disrespect was just on another level.

MADDEN: After seeing those videos, Flo Milli knew she would need some support.

FLO MILLI: And I just felt the need to reach out to her, like, because I didn't like what I was seeing on the internet. And we had a long talk about it. This is crazy. Like, this is - like, how is this even being allowed to happen right now? I let her know, like, girl, f*** what these people think. You have people out here who actually love you, who you're actually touching every single day.

MADDEN: Rico tried to keep in mind that her community had her back, but it was getting hard because even though she knew she had fans out there in the crowd each night, they were getting drowned out by Carti's. And that made the hate feel even louder. Two nights later, the tour bus rolled into Portland.

JARO: My little sister - the day of the concert was her birthday, so I was like, yo, I have an idea for your birthday.

MADDEN: Talille, that fan from the beginning of the episode, was excited to celebrate their sister's birthday by going to see one of their favorite artists. At the same time, though, they were nervous.

JARO: I had seen on, like, social media, especially on TikTok, that there were videos of Playboi Carti fans is what it looked like, like, kind of, like, booing her off stage, just having this animosity for her for no reason. And I kind of thought, like, this is not - I hope that this is not how Portland is going to show up and show out for Rico.

MADDEN: But Talille knew how Portland could be.

JARO: This city - people call it, like, a liberal safe haven type of vibe, but it is definitely for white individuals to have this - I don't know - like, white savior, like, aspect, like, white women wearing shirts, like protect Black women in Portland. And then they'll come to my job, and they'll yell at me. They have all the face of it. Like, I'm woke. I'm liberal. But when it comes down to actually seeing a Black person in person, they are shocked, afraid. Like, you can tell just by looking at their face, like, they are uncomfortable with you being there.

MADDEN: Regardless, they weren't going to let all that noise get in the way of their good time. The night of the show, she got ready with friends.

JARO: Before we went to the show. We got our outfits together. We tried to go for something punk. We tried to go for something that Rico would like. We were listening to her songs, and we were dancing in the mirror. And, you know, we were so excited.

MADDEN: When they all got to the venue, though, things felt off.

JARO: There were, like, large crowds of white boys, probably between the ages of, like, 14 to freshmen in college. And they were all just kind of, like - had this, like, hype mentality. There were so few of us Black women there. There were some, and we did make friends with a few people, too. But the vibe was uncomfortable.

MADDEN: The lights went down and Rico's set was about to start.

JARO: When the music started and that tension got thicker and thicker, I was like, this is insane.

RICO NASTY: I got on stage, and I was just performing. I was performing like regular, bro, just a regular show. People were singing. It was mosh pits. It was fun. It was lit. I was bouncing around. I was jumping up and down. And I had seen, like, in this corner, it was just n*****. And they wasn't dancing, and they wasn't doing nothing. They was just looking at me. And they may be, like, a foot away from the stage. Like, it's three rows of people in front of them. Cool. And they was white, the people that I'm talking about. I keep saying n*****, but they was white.

MADDEN: I know. I know what you mean. I know.



JARO: I was up out of my seat. My sister was up out of her seat. All these Black women - and then rows and rows behind us, people are just sitting. All the rows in front of us, people are just sitting. You can tell it's like they're bored. They're kind of like, just get over this kind of energy.

MADDEN: As Talille watched from her section, that crowd went from being bored to straight-up disrespectful. Talille pulled out their phone and started recording.

JARO: They were chanting Carti. They were saying, get off the stage, trying to cut her set short and then just move on. And they kept doing it. Like, you know, what the f*** is going on? Like, you could hear, like, this rumble. The people who are fans of hers are waiting for the next lyric, next beat. Like, we're all kind of like, what's going on? You could tell something happened. Someone threw something at her. We had no idea what it was from our angle.

RICO NASTY: And then a bottle, like, hit me in my arm. And I looked up.

JARO: She was looking at the crowd, and she starts pointing.


RICO NASTY: Who the f*** just threw this? Stand up. Come get this n*****. Who? Who, b****? Who the f*** threw it? Who, b****? Be specific. Don't f***ing play. Who was it?

This is going to sound so, like, wild of me. And it was wild of me to think like this. But I just had thought it came from right where I had seen them. So I just said, who the f*** did that? And they start pointing. And as they pointing, the n***** is running.

JARO: You could tell she's about to fight this person.

RICO NASTY: So I'm - I jumped off the stage.

JARO: She just played, like, four songs about fighting somebody. And I don't know why you would throw something at her.

RICO NASTY: And I grabbed the first person that I seen, and I hit them. And then they were a fan.

MADDEN: Your fan?

RICO NASTY: Yeah. And that's when I knew that I can't really do anything.


JARO: You could see her whole security team, like, surrounding her, like, trying to get her. It was like, you know, men in black uniforms just trying to salvage the situation.

RICO NASTY: Security grabbed me. He folded my a** like a chair. You could see it in the video. He folded me. He got my a** quick as hell. And then I just, like, walked off. And I was like, what the f*** did I just do? Like, what the f***? Like, why did I do that? Why the f*** did I just do that? Why the f*** didn't I just say something funny or, like, make light of it? It wasn't even a big bottle. Like, why did I do that? Why did I stop the show? I just was so mad at myself.

JARO: My heart, like, broke for her. I was sad. I was hurt. I was upset. I was mad that - why would someone do that?

RICO NASTY: Everybody was trying to figure out what happened. And then the internet was, like, blowing that shit crazy. And then everybody was calling me like, what the f*** is going on? And I'm like, oh, nothing, just a crazy show.

JARO: It was one of the hardest shows I think I've had to go to because of that energy in the room. It was one of the most hostile shows I think I've ever been to. It's not an energy I want to be in ever again or space I want to be in ever again. The other girls with me are a genuine fan of hers. Like, we want to see her succeed. And we want to see her have a successful concert. But all these people are out here ruining it for us. She's worked hard. She's earned her place, and she deserves a seat at the table. This doesn't make any sense. We were just kind of, like, so, so, so drained.

MADDEN: Talille posted a TikTok of what happened that night. Once they got home, all they wanted to do was put their phone to charge and go to bed.


MADDEN: By the time she woke up, her TikTok was part of a much larger conversation, one that was going to clock what went down that night as more than just fleeting controversy.

Rico jumping off that stage in Portland ignited a storm online. It spread from TikTok to Instagram to Twitter.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #9: Never disrespect the crowd. She has a lot to learn.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #10: I feel so bad for Rico.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #11: Rico sucks, though. Not better than...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #12: Y'all spent a year inside and forgot how to act in public.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #13: Booing her for what?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #14: Sick and racist and misogynistic.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #15: Nobody wants to hear that BS.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #16: F*** y'all, for real.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #17: Bro, you're making Carti look like a fool.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #18: She's a f***ing queen.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #19: They love to hate on Black women, for real.

MADDEN: There was one person watching this go down that knew it went a lot deeper than this internet chatter.

MASANI MUSA: I start to see these videos that literally are, like, you know, maybe, like, six or seven or eight hours old.

MADDEN: This is Masani Musa, internet commentator and the creator of Culture Unfiltered, a hub for pop culture and music discussions, especially hip-hop.

MUSA: I saw, like, all of these bad things happening to Rico Nasty, and it was video after video after video. It was kind of shocking. The crowd was just disrespectful, inconsiderate, immature and just lacking in couth.

MADDEN: Seeing all this, Masani was angry for Rico.

MUSA: Rico Nasty is an artist who has worked her behind off to be in this space, performing, you know, her art. And it came off as anti-Black woman because it's like, they're not even giving her a chance to perform it. And I just thought that was extremely wrong. I just knew, like, you know, deep down in my soul as a Black woman, like, she did not deserve that treatment. And I think in situations like that, it's important to speak up and speak out about it.

MADDEN: So she did.


MUSA: So over the weekend, Rico Nasty called Playboi Carti fans anti-Black because they were disrespecting her as she was opening for him. I think this situation makes it obvious that, yes, alternative hip-hop realm of music can be very anti-Black and isn't welcoming to Black women. Let me know what y'all think about this.

MADDEN: Masani's reaction video circulated all over - TikTok, YouTube and Twitter.

MUSA: A lot of the responses that I got were, like, Playboi Carti fans. I call them the Playboi Carti Hive. A lot of those comments I didn't even give energy to because that same audience that was disrespecting her, you know, was the same audience that was showing up in my comment section. And I feel like, for some people, unless you put yourself in a Black woman's shoes, you will never understand, you know, where we're coming from. And I think that audience is dedicated to misunderstanding Black women as a whole. I stood ten toes down on what I said.

MADDEN: Trolls weren't the only ones in her comments, though.

MUSA: Some people were curious about how a white Playboi Carti fan coming to a Playboi Carti concert and booing Rico Nasty would be deemed anti-Blackness if Playboi Carti is Black himself. That opened the conversation for how you can fetishize a single Black person and still be considered anti-Black and especially anti-Black woman.

MADDEN: That's the main reason her video went so viral - because Masani was one of the first people with a platform to call out Rico's experiences, what Carti's fandom was doing to her, as misogynistic.

How are these instances of casual sexism? How does it relate to the inherent misogyny of hip-hop?

MUSA: I think that has been the thing since the beginning of hip-hop, unfortunately. And hip-hop being an art form, being a culture that everybody has contributed to, in a perfect world, Black women would get celebrated for their contributions just as much as Black men, but they don't.

MADDEN: Instead of celebration, it's a fight for the most basic forms of respect. As a woman in the game, Rico knows this too. This pattern pops up all the time, like with JT from City Girls, who was clowned when she got arrested for scamming just as City Girls was on the rise.

RICO NASTY: And people thinking that shit is funny.

MADDEN: Yeah, yeah. And, like...

RICO NASTY: There's nothing funny about that.

MADDEN: Same thing with Megan.

RICO NASTY: There's nothing funny about that.

MADDEN: I mean, what does that say about...

RICO NASTY: It say that they don't care. That's why we have to care about ourselves. That's why they're so mad that we pop our p****** and we pop our s***, because who else will? Y'all not going to pop our s***. Y'all not going to tell us that we the baddest b****. Y'all just going to keep breaking us down.

Who is going to tell us we are the baddest b****? We have to tell ourselves. We have to. And that's why you get the music that you get - this confident, cocky-a** s*** that the n***** can't stand. They hate it, hate it. It's not for you. It's not for you, bro.

MADDEN: Rico's music and attitude specifically not being for the bros - it's what built Nasty Mob up. But it's also what created this clash on tour. Every time Rico got back up on that stage and was defiant, it became like a challenge for the segment of Carti fans to shut her down. The tour rolled through Seattle, Vancouver, Salt Lake City, and each time Rico went up, she felt this pressure building. Even though she was downplaying it, she started to feel unsure of herself, like she didn't know how the crowd was going to react to her.

RICO NASTY: I was already trying to, like, make light of what had just happened, so I'm, like, treading lightly as it is.

MADDEN: In mid-November, the tour stopped in Morrison, Colo.

RICO NASTY: This is at fucking Red Rocks, which is one of the best venues ever.

MADDEN: Yeah, Red Rocks is pretty iconic. It looks almost like the stage was dropped right in the middle of the Grand Canyon. And for some artists, it's like a bucket list type of show. But it was far from that for Rico. If anything, this show made things worse.

RICO NASTY: They fucked my sound.



MADDEN: The speakers blew out, and the crowd started booing again. And then...

RICO NASTY: This one was more fun. It was a glass bottle this time. I had on my moon boots. So, like, it just hit the front of my boot. I just was on the mic. I was like, what are y'all so mad for? And I remember turning around, and my manager grabbed me. I'm like, let me go. Like, I don't give a fuck.

And then my other tour manager is like, give me the mic. So I took the mic. And I smiled at the n**** that did sound, like, f*** you, basically, like, you're a b****-a** n****. And I took the mic, and I threw it as far in the air as I could. And I remember when it came down, it made the craziest sound.


MADDEN: On the cement?

RICO NASTY: On the cement. It completely, like, shattered, and they had to, like, get a new mic and do all this shit. And I didn't give a fuck because I don't care. Like, what? Y'all want to break s***, I'ma (ph) break s*** too. We could break s*** all night.

MADDEN: Rico's set ended, but later that night during Playboi Carti's set, Carti brought Rico back out.



MADDEN: He picked her up and hugged her. And then as he performed his song "Sky," Rico stayed on stage and hopped around in the smoke with him.


PLAYBOI CARTI: (Rapping) I told my boy, go roll, like, 10 blunts for me. I told my boy, go roll, like, 10 blunts for me.

MADDEN: Now, there's a weird sense of irony in this moment because from the video, the crowd actually looks hyped to see Rico. This is the same crowd that was just booing her a few minutes earlier. Remember how our producer, Mano, described Carti fans as being rebellious for rebellion sake? This little recording sums that up completely to me. The crowd is so worked up by Carti, they don't really care about anything else, especially not that Rico is the person they were just heckling.

In this moment, it becomes so clear that to them, rebelling against the opener, messing with Rico, it's just something to do. Behind the ego and audacity of monopolizing a space meant to be shared, they're really just oblivious. What a privilege, to be so absent-minded in the damage you cause. And as for Carti - I'm not going to lie. The hug was nice. But after weeks of harassment by Carti's fans, it did not make things any safer for Rico or fans like Talille who felt uneasy in the crowd. In fact, it downplays what just happened, and it sidesteps the impact.


JARO: You could definitely tell it was because of racism. It was because of misogyny, misogynoir. Obviously, that's exactly what was going on. And now when I enter a concert space, I'm trying to imagine the kind of group that will go there and if I'm even comfortable being there at all, regardless of if I'm a fan of their music, because it's like, I think not understanding that two artists have different fan bases puts a clash, definitely. And the fact that he couldn't even stand up for her - you know, by hugging her on stage, that's one thing. We understand, like - but it's like, you need to say some words too. These people were saying some words to her.

MADDEN: As of this recording, we reached out to Carti's camp multiple times for comment on this story and have yet to get a response. A week after Red Rocks, Rico shared that it was becoming too much. We had someone read her tweets again.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #21: (Reading) I deada** need at least two hours out of each day to just cry.

(Reading) Crazy how I wanted a tour bus my whole life and now I just be on the tour bus crying myself to sleep every night.

(Reading) Y'all win.

(Reading) I wish I was dead just as much as y'all do. Trust me.

MADDEN: Rico later deleted this series of tweets, but Red Rocks was only the halfway point of the tour. With more than 20 stops to go, the end felt really far away, and Rico's team was worried for her.

RICO NASTY: After the glass bottle, they were like, girl, get the f*** off this tour. You got to get off this tour. And I was just like, eh, I could. I could get off the tour, right? And then, like, all those little geeky, nerdy, slutty boys, they'll be like, yes, we succeeded. We did it. We got her to leave. I cannot give them that satisfaction.

Go pile up those f****** wet socks in your corner, n****. Like, I don't care. I'm not giving you that satisfaction. I'm not going to go nowhere. Go do something. Go build a house.

And just, like, Playboi Carti and Ken Carson - them just making - always making light of the situation. Like, always seeing me be like, oh, like, what the f***? And then just being like, girl, you're the best. Shut up. Like, fuck them n*****. Who gives a fuck?

MADDEN: But you talk about making light of the situation, and some of your fans felt threatened and, like, you had a bottle thrown at you.

RICO NASTY: But it's like, in retrospect, like, I'm supposed to just quit? I'm on one of the biggest tours of the year. And don't give a f*** about no damn bottle. Yeah, I don't care. Everybody was like, pull off, pull off, pull off. And I was like, no. And they was like, do you want them to hit you? Do you want someone to finally hit you? Do you want someone to hurt you? It's like, no, but if they do, it'll be an even better story to tell.

Who gives a f***? I'm not here for the pretty s***. I'm not here for the cute s***. I'm here to make a f****** difference. I'm here for the people who go right into the motherf****** flames and get burned. Like, I don't give a f***. Fight me. Ain't nobody fight me. Ain't nobody jump up on the stage and tackle me. God forbid that any of this ever happens.

Like, it's so crazy I even have to say that. Because s*** like that does happen to people, and it's scary. Like, I could just be enjoying myself and somebody just hurt me. Yes, it's terrifying, but 10 years from now when that s*** happens to another girl, she won't feel alone and she won't feel like she need to give up either. I don't care about being safe. Like, I care about people understanding that you can do what the f*** you want, whether or not they like you.

You got to be strong in life, not even just in music. Like, you got to be strong in life. You have to. You have to.

MADDEN: Being strong in life can get you through a lot, but sometimes strength gets used against you - weaponized to justify hurting you even deeper. Because you can take it, right?

MUSA: Her staying on the tour and dealing with that treatment was an example of the strong Black woman trope.

MADDEN: That's Masani Musa again.

MUSA: People buy into the fact that Black women possess less emotions than everybody else, that they can handle the harassment, they can handle, you know, the name-calling, without really thinking about how it would affect the actual person. I think it points to the dehumanization of Black women. A Black woman's existence, if she is in the mix of any type of drama or anything else, it's like comedy. It's like entertainment.

MADDEN: Entertainment and rationale to disregard Black women's pain and ultimately flatten us into caricatures - a savior like Stacey Abrams or a martyr like Toyin Salau, a scapegoat like Janet Jackson or a spectacle like Megan Thee Stallion. The strong Black women label is packaged and sold as a compliment, and it's been internalized by many Black women as such for a long time. But really, it's an insult for even being asked to withstand all this in the first place and to do it alone.

MUSA: It stems from survival. And I think that can be attributed back to how we had to survive emotionally, physically and mentally during slavery. You know, we weren't seen as women, we were seeing as Black women, thus being able to take the abuse, you know, take the harassment and all the other unsavory things that women in slavery had to deal with and just keep it trucking.

MADDEN: Along with being too loud and too angry, it's one of the most pervasive stereotypes in America about Black women.

MUSA: I think a lot of Black women may have to deal with that in private, but Rico Nasty was dealing with it in public with, you know, the whole world watching. I don't blame her for sticking it out. Also, at the same time, I don't think Black women should be conditioned to feel like we have to stick things out.

MADDEN: When I talked to Rico about all of this, it was clear that she was holding onto strength as her coping mechanism to stick things out and to survive tour. But I wanted to go deeper than that.

I want to go back to something you just said about not quitting and not dropping off the bill despite all this s*** happening to you. I think that's something very within your character, very within a lot of Black people, a lot of Black women. But my line of questioning is more about why does it have to be that way? Why...

RICO NASTY: Like, why do I have to be the guinea pig?

MADDEN: Why do...

RICO NASTY: Why does it have to be me?

MADDEN: ...Black women have to be the strongest, most resilient, put-up-with-anything, sacrificial...

RICO NASTY: Type of people. Oh, my gosh.

MADDEN: ...For - you know what I'm saying?

RICO NASTY: Why we got to be so tough?

MADDEN: Why does it have to happen in the first place?

RICO NASTY: Because we get the short end of the stick. We just do. And you're either going to be victim, or you're just going to be a f***ing warrior. Like, bro, like, I just feel like I spent a lot of time feeling like that, feeling like, why me? Why I got to be strong? Why I got to f***ing do this? Why? Why? Why do I always have to keep - save face? And why? And then it's just like, because you do, unfortunately.


RICO NASTY: It's just crazy, bro. N****s don't have no respect. They don't give a f*** about us. And I'm not going to go blue in the face trying to prove people to love us and care about us. I'm just going to love us. I'm going to care about us. I'm going to do it. And I'm just one person, but I'm all I can be in control of, you know what I mean? Like, I can preach the good word till I'm blue in the face - respect women. But n****s just don't. They don't give a f*** about us. Like, and it makes me want to cry saying that crazy statement 'cause I know people are going to hear it and be like, that's crazy to say 'cause we do, but it don't feel like y'all do. So until it feels like y'all do, I'm going love us.


MADDEN: Rico's love and commitment to being strong for her community - it's real. On this tour, it was also lonely and exhausting. It was going to take a whole new environment with whole new energy for her to feel that love back.


MADDEN: It's a year after Carti's tour, and Rico is back on the road again, this time as a supporting act on Kehlani's Blue Water Road tour. And Talille is back, too, at the same venue where that first bottle was thrown at Rico in Portland.

JARO: I'm glad that she decided to come back.

MADDEN: Talille was worried Rico wouldn't come back, but this tour has very different energy to it. With Kehlani as the headliner, it's much more queer, much more Black and just more inviting. When this show was announced, Talille jumped on the tickets with her friend.

JARO: She's a Kehlani fan. We kind of made our outfits - I was dressing for Rico, and she's dressing for Kehlani.

MADDEN: Our producer, Sam J. Leeds, meets up with Talille by will call. Talille walks up in a black crop top, red bootleg pants with cutouts at the hip, bold eyeliner and, of course, some Doc Martens.

SAM J LEEDS, BYLINE: So how does it feel to be back, knowing you're going to see Rico?

JARO: I - my adrenaline is, like, pumping. I am so nervous and so excited. She's iconic.

MADDEN: But before Talille and Sam head to the mosh pits, Sam has a surprise.

LEEDS: OK. So tonight, we have organized the opportunity for you to meet Rico.

JARO: Oh, s***. OK.

LEEDS: How are you feeling?

JARO: I'm nervous. I'm sweaty (laughter). I still hope she likes me, besides those two facts. Oh, my God. OK.

MADDEN: Sam and Talille start walking to meet up with Rico's tour manager.

JARO: My jaw is to the floor, and I'm shaking, so, yep, yep. I'm excited (laughter). Yeah. OK. I'm ready. Let's do this.

LEEDS: Have some deep breaths.

JARO: She's just a regular person with talented talents. OK.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #22: Well, I'm bringing her in, like, two minutes.

LEEDS: All right, we'll hang tight. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #22: Yeah, no problem.

MADDEN: Backstage, they're in the cafeteria space that all arenas seem to have for the people who work there at the venue - tables, tile floors, empty buffet stations and these vinyl booths up against one of the walls.

JARO: So maybe I should sit in the booth, but will she sit in the booth (laughter)?

LEEDS: We can have her, like, sit here, maybe?

JARO: Oh, yeah. Like, we're just two old friends catching up...

LEEDS: Yeah, just catching up.

JARO: ...You know, OK. Casual.

MADDEN: As Talille plops down into one of the booths, she talks about how she just got off work a few hours ago, and on the car ride home, listened to "Smack A B****," the same song that first put them onto Rico.

JARO: This song really hits after work.

MADDEN: And right as they're saying that...

JARO: Oh, my gosh.

MADDEN: ...Rico strolls in...

JARO: Oh...

LEEDS: Hello.

JARO: ...My God. Hello.

LEEDS: Hi Rico.


JARO: Hey, Rico.

MADDEN: ...Blunt in hand...

JARO: Oh, my God. Your outfit is beautiful.

RICO NASTY: Thank you.

MADDEN: ...Rocking a red wig, black leather jacket, miniskirt and a trucker hat. Rico slides into the booth right next to Talille.

JARO: How do you feel, like, right before your big concert, second time?

RICO NASTY: I don't know. I was really nervous. I was like, how am I going to...

JARO: You're Rico f***ing Nasty. What? Come on.


JARO: I mean, you're a person, too, but, like...


JARO: ...You know.

MADDEN: They start to talk about the last time they were both here, what they both went through.

JARO: You know.

RICO NASTY: Yeah. And I feel like the last tour was weird, so...

JARO: Oh, yeah, I got that vibe, too. I didn't come for Carti, so I was just like - I came for you. I just came...

RICO NASTY: That sucks.

JARO: Yeah. Yeah.

RICO NASTY: This s*** is kind of, like, terrifying. For you, like, being in the middle, like, hearing them - 'cause I know at Red Rocks...

JARO: Yeah.

RICO NASTY: ...They was - it was, like, a crowd full of white people. And I heard they was calling me n**** b****. They was calling me n****. They was calling me all types of s***. So I always wondered like, bro, is it, like, my Black girl fans in the f***ing crowd - listening to n****s be like that in a crowd is, like - I want - 'cause you can't...

JARO: Yeah.

RICO NASTY: You a woman, and it's all white men around you, and you Black. Bro, you can't say nothing, bro.

JARO: Yeah.

RICO NASTY: You really can't say nothing. That s*** is just exhausting. Like, OK, so keep going.

JARO: Before the concert even started, these girls were just sitting down and these white boys, like, kicked them out of their seats, even though they bought those seats. Like, they started making up s*** like, oh, those are fake tickets. And then the girls tried to get - well, the girls were thinking of getting security, but they didn't want to be snitches. And I was like, no, no, I'll do it. If you want me to do it, like, I'll do it.

RICO NASTY: That's the thing. It's like, oh, we don't want to be snitches. Ladies, ladies, be snitches. Be b*****s. F*** these n****s. We don't trust these n****s. We definitely don't love these n****s. We don't have sympathy for these n****s, these weak-ass n****s. Get these n****s in trouble. Get these n****s in the f*** trouble. Do you f***ing hear me? I just think, at the end of the day, all of it is just speak up. Like, for real, speak up. I didn't want to tell nobody. Tell. Tell, b****. Tell because nobody's going to f***ing stand up for us. Like, you go into crowds of these men that are supposed to protect us. They're not going to protect us. Protect your f***ing self.

JARO: Well, I feel like you made us, like, Black girls who dress alternatively or, like, feel like weirdos - like, you made us feel comfortable and safe.

RICO NASTY: I felt like, when all of that s*** was going on, I felt like that was, like, stripped away from me. I felt really weak. I felt very like I couldn't be that for y'all. For everything that I stand for, for you guys and everything that I stand for in this rap s***, literally, for Black women, it's just like, that would've been so p****. Like, I have to do it for us and anybody coming after me.

MADDEN: Rico's team signals she has to get ready to get on stage. She stands up to leave.

RICO NASTY: Thank you.

JARO: Thank you. What the hell?

RICO NASTY: Thank you. This is cool. Hearing your perspective was...

JARO: Thank you so much for making this happen.

LEEDS: Yeah. No problem.

RICO NASTY: Wow. Sorry you had to go through...

JARO: No, I'm sorry. I'm sorry you had to go through it. S***.

MADDEN: For Talille and Rico, being able to say they got each other - it doesn't change the past. It doesn't solve everything. But it is a reminder - when the world tells us to deal with misogynoir alone, community shows us we don't have to.

JARO: Thank you. Goodbye. Have a great show. Break a leg, but don't break a leg.

MADDEN: Sam and Talille make their way back to meet up with Talille's friend in the pit.

JARO: OK. Hey.


JARO: It was OK. Yeah, I got to - I know. I got to just meet Rico.

MADDEN: Talille and her friend break away from Sam and wade into the crowd. The lights go dark.


RICO NASTY: Rico, Rico, Rico.

MADDEN: And Rico's DJ starts the chant.

UNIDENTIFIED DJ: Repeat after me, Portland. When I say Rico, y'all say Nasty. Rico.






MADDEN: The whole pit screams for Rico and starts to bounce.


RICO NASTY: (Rapping) Talk sick s***, you going to have to show me. You going to have to show me.

MADDEN: All the way back in the stands, people are up out their seats.


RICO NASTY: (Rapping) You going to have to blow me.

MADDEN: The crowd is here for Rico.


RICO NASTY: (Rapping) You going to have to blow me. Now I'm...

MADDEN: And Rico knows it.


RICO NASTY: (Rapping) You going to have to hold me. You going to have to hold me.


RICO NASTY: (Rapping) Talk sick s***, you going to have to show me. You going to have to show me. You going to have to blow me. Fizzy, classy, wow, rich, nasty, yeah, bought a BM...

MADDEN: As y'all know by now, this season is about misogynoir and how it holds us all back. So even the people with the most power in this culture - cis straight men - are tangled up in it, too. How has it opened your eyes to the inequality in the industry in a way that we didn't already know?

CARMICHAEL: The way we modeled ourselves after our oppressors in so many ways is just - that's the hardest nut to crack in all of this. When you start to think about how deeply ingrained it is, then you start to think about ways that you might have played a role without even being conscious of it. Next episode, we'll be doing something a little different. I'll be taking us through Rule No. 9 and how hip-hop shaped my own sense of masculinity. That's next time on LOUDER THAN A RIOT.

MADDEN: LOUDER THAN A RIOT is hosted by me, Sidney Madden, and Rodney Carmichael. This episode was written by myself and Sam J. Leeds, and it was produced by Sam J. Leeds.

CARMICHAEL: Our senior producer is Gabby Bulgarelli.

MADDEN: And our producers are Sam J. Leeds and Mano Sundaresan. Our editor is Soraya Shockley, and our engineer is Gilly Moon. Our senior supervising producer is Cher Vincent, and our interns are Jose Sandoval, Teresa Xie and Pilar Galvan, with help from Jerusalem Truth.

CARMICHAEL: And the NPR execs are Keith Jenkins, Yolanda Sangweni and Anya Grundmann.

MADDEN: Original theme by Kassa Overall, remixed by Suzi Analogue. And scoring for this episode was provided by Suzi Analogue and Kassa Overall.

CARMICHAEL: Our digital editor is Jacob Ganz. Our fact-checker is Will Chase.

MADDEN: And shoutout to our social media voice actors Alante Serene, Brianna Scott, James Sneed, Andrea Gutierrez, Juma Sei, Bobby Carter, Alex Curley and Janet Lee. If you liked this episode and you want to talk back, hit us up on Twitter. We're @LouderThanARiot. And if you want to email us, it's

CARMICHAEL: From NPR Music, I'm Rodney Carmichael.

MADDEN: And I'm Sidney Madden. This is LOUDER THAN A RIOT.


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