Maria-Cecilia Simone Kelly was born an only child on May 7, 1997 in Largo, Maryland.At age eleven, she and her mother moved to the Palmer Park area. As her grades were dropping, Kelly’s mother sent her to a boarding school in Baltimore. That same year, her parents divorced. Kelly was eventually expelled from the boarding school, after being caught smoking marijuana on school grounds.
Rico started rapping while still in high school, and released her first mixtape, Summer’s Eve, when she was in eleventh grade. After graduating high school, she started focusing on her music career and released two mixtapes in 2016, The Rico story and Sugar Trap, which gained her notable attention from the media and the general public. The mixtape included her hit single Hey Arnold which was later remixed featuring Atlanta rapper Lil Yachty.
In June 2017, Rico Nasty released her single Poppin’ which became her biggest single to date gathering over 4 million views on YouTube and being featured on the HBO hit show Insecure. The song was then featured on her 5th mixtape Sugar Trap 2 which included Rico’s other popular hit Key Lime OG. The mixtape was later listed on Rolling Stone‘s best Rap Albums of 2017