It’s time to talk about the misogynoir Rico Nasty endured on the King Vamp tour

By Francesca Johnson

Published Jan 7, 2022 at 11:27 AM

Reading time: 5 minutes

The tales of ‘Tacobella’ seemed to have a very nasty chapter towards the end of 2021 for Rico Nasty when she opened for fellow rapper Playboi Carti’s now-infamous Narcissist/King Vamp tour. A vibrant, colourful and expressive rapper who suits every hair colour possible and never fails to amaze with her outlandish looks, Rico Nasty is an inspiration for many fans, particularly for a lot of black girls like myself. The artist represents a certain demographic with her music—the girls who love alternative looks and creative style and have a thing for roaring scream music to rage to. Which is why I, among many others, was so stunned by the hate she received while touring for Playboi Carti and how downplayed it was by some of his fans.

Playboi Carti’s tour promoted his highly anticipated second studio album Whole Lotta Red, released in 2020. Naturally, after every new album comes a tour. The King Vamp tour across North America was announced in late 2021, and listed Rico Nasty as a supporting act for several dates from October through to December.

https://twitter.com/rico_nastyy/status/1449180488669835268

Now, it’s not uncommon for fans to not entirely dig the opening act for their favourite artists, right? I mean, you’re there to see your fav, not necessarily anyone else. However, what’s interesting is the fact that Nasty is the perfect opener for Carti—only thing is, she’s not a man. With her rager persona, singles like ‘Smack A Bitch’, ‘IDGAF’, and ‘OHFR?’ which easily fit the moshpit hype vibe and her charisma on stage, Nasty is just the right amount of chaos for a concert like Carti’s. What no one could anticipate was the additional chaos that came from her being there.

What happened at the King Vamp Tour?

In an interview with Billboard in December of last year, Nasty shared how she felt “embraced” on the tour, even though she was the lone female act on the road alongside fellow supporting act Ken Car$on. However, it seems as though this couldn’t be further from the truth observing what happened when the tour stopped over in Los Angeles. In early November, Nasty experienced issues with fans while opening for Carti. She was booed and had many disrespectful comments hurled at her by fans when performing on stage.

In a series of now-deleted tweets to her 816,000 followers, Nasty expressed her frustration and hardship performing for Carti’s fans on tour and their disrespect towards her. “Anti black ass crowd. Weak ass little boys with blonde pubes. Ugh. Get me out of here,” she tweeted the day following The Forum concert in Los Angeles on 7 November 2021.

Things didn’t get any better when she opened again for Carti a few days later in San Diego, at the Sycuan Stage on 9 November. The rapper received a flood of chants for Carti to come on stage instead and heckling from fans. There were even videos of fans sleeping on the floor during her set making the rounds on TikTok. Originally, Nasty held her own and more videos of her standing her ground against the rude reception circulated on social media.

At one part of the performance, Nasty even had a bottle thrown at her. Angered by this, she jumped off the stage and into the crowd but was held off by security before anything else occurred. This prompted a series of worrying tweets from the artist openly discussing her contemplation of suicide due to the stress she was under.

The social media situation

While fans continued to treat her poorly at the following shows held in California, Nasty’s series of tweets caught the attention of media outlets out of concern for her wellbeing. Many fans addressed their distaste at the reception she received. Others urged the singer to quit the show altogether for the sake of her mental health, and some called for Carti to step in and address his fans’ behaviour too.

Though the tour has now concluded, I still have a bone to pick with it, mainly due to the lack of support Nasty received during that time. Time and time again, we see female artists, specifically black female artists, be treated terribly by fans, fellow artists and by the industry at large. But why is that the case?

Since I know I am definitely not the only one who had some strong opinions—to put it very lightly—on the situation, I decided to reach out to LA-based music journalist and TikTok content creator Masani Musa from @cultureunfiltered to better gain some real insight into this issue. Masani reported on the events that took place between Nasty and Carti’s fans during the first half of the tour.

@cultureunfiltered

♬ original sound - CultureUnfiltered

In our interview, I asked Masani to reflect on what changes need to be made in the music industry in order to stop this troubled history from repeating itself. Here’s what she had to say.

First off, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

“I’ve reported on hip-hop music and news via blogs, radio, and presently via short-form content on TikTok. As a creator whose focus is on hip-hop music and its subcultures, it has been rewarding to see how it has continuously grown and impacted the world. I enjoy talking about the trends and new music I discover because I feel like we’re experiencing a digital renaissance with so many creatives willing to share their art with the world.”

What are the main hurdles that black artists face within the industry?

“A lot of black people in the industry are first-generation creatives. With that comes a lot of pressure to succeed with less of a security net. Also, when you factor in ‘flex’ culture, it’s almost like you have to be successful, ‘lit’, and maintain the creativity that got your ‘foot in the door’ in real-time on social media.”

How does the experience of being black in the music industry differ from that of other races?

“I think the black experience in the music industry mirrors the black experience in a lot of industries. You have so much more to lose if things don’t go as you’ve planned.”

What are your thoughts on Playboi Carti’s fans and their reaction to Nasty on tour?

“The whole situation was extremely unfortunate and very eye-opening. I think we’ve gotten to a place where certain spaces in hip-hop have adopted an ‘anything goes’ type of energy and unfortunately, it appears that black women aren’t celebrated within that space,” Masani explained.

“Her response was heart-breaking because Rico Nasty is extremely talented and deserves respect and a safe space to perform her art in.”

What are your thoughts on the treatment of black female musicians by other artists, fans, and the industry?

“Black women contribute so much to hip-hop culture yet get the short end of the stick oftentimes. I feel like it mirrors society in a way,” Masani shared. She further explained the tricky nature of navigating the industry as a black female artist, “We aren’t protected, and unfortunately, things have to get really bad in order for us to have conversations surrounding this. I feel like black women in music should be embraced and provided a safe space for in the industry, among their fandom, and by their colleagues in music.”

What about Playboi Carti’s role in this?

One of the things that bothered me about this entire debacle is how Playboi Carti refused to do anything about it. I mean, it was his tour. Shouldn’t headline acts be held accountable for not stepping in?

Masani seemed to share the same sentiment, and stated, “I believe that if Playboi Carti stepped in, things would have gone down differently. Should he be held accountable for not stepping in? In a perfect world, yes. However, I don’t think his silence will do much harm to his career or tour so I guess things just are the way they are.”

What can we do then?

In our interview, Masani offered some insight into what can be done to support black artists like Nasty and their mental health. “Showing positive support to artists on social media and making noise about instances like this are important. Also, fostering positive environments for them to perform their art,” she concluded.

What’s happened since the fallout?

 

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A post shared by TACOBELLA (@riconasty)

Since the initial blow up and social media fallout, a number of celebrities and fellow female artists including Megan Thee Stallion—who’s yet another victim of misogynoirJT of the City Girls and Flo Milli—who teamed up with Nasty featuring on her single ‘Money’ in late 2021—came to Nasty’s defence on Twitter. We all know that gorgeous gorgeous girls support each other.

And seriously, when’s the concert for all the rap girlies? Sign me up.

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