Just under 20 years ago, the Queens rapper N.O.R.E. (then known as Noreaga) released his breakout single “Superthug,” a nonsensical burst of hypercharged fuck-you-up energy with a beat that sounded like angry aliens covering the Knight Rider theme music. That beat came from the Neptunes, and it was the world’s first real prolonged exposure to their bugged-out sound. “Superthug” remains an absolutely perfect rap song, a song that will increase your pulse rate whenever you hear it, in whatever context.
On Friday, the young Maryland rapper Rico Nasty, who was one year old when “Superthug” came out, released her new album/mixtape/whatever Nasty. She’s been building up an audience organically for the past few years, using the SoundCloud-rap mixtape circuit, and she seems poised to break through to something much bigger. Nasty is both an excellent rap album and a moment. It’s full of great songs, but the best of those songs might be “Countin Up,” on which Rico raps, with tremendous spirit and charisma, over what’s essentially the reconstructed “Superthug” beat, which now sounds even cheaper.
Rico just shared her “Countin’ Up” video, in which she wears some truly ridiculous outfits that are either tributes the the excesses of late-’90s rap or signs of some whole new excesses being born. It’s cheap, and it’s fun. Joe Cavallini directs. Check it out below, along with the original “Superthug” video.
Nasty is out now.