Today I am writing a music review for the underground hip-hop artist Princess Nokia.
Destiny Nicole Frasqueri (born June 14, 1992), better known by her stage name Princess Nokia (formerly Wavy Spice and Destiny) is an American rapper of Afro-Puerto Rican descent. She is a strong supporter of feminism, founding the Smart Girl Club with Milah Liblin. She is signed to Rough Trade Records.
At age 10, Frasqueri lost her mother to AIDS. Between ages 9 and 16, she was in foster care. Her last foster mother was physically abusive throughout. At age 16, Frasqueri started writing rhymes. She then lived around East Harlem and the Lower East Side of New York City. Frasqueri identifies as bisexual and has stated that growing up near the queer community of New York City was an important part of her life. The early stages of her musical career began through performing at queer nightclubs, and she gained popularity among the gay nightlife scene.
Frasqueri recorded her first song, “Destiny”, in 2010, and released it under the name of Wavy Spice on her SoundCloud and her YouTube channel in mid-2012. It was largely autobiographical and gained modest popularity. Subsequently, she released her second track, “Bitch I’m Posh”. The track went viral, and as of December 2017, received 110,000 plays on Soundcloud. Frasqueri then released YAYA, which was a commentary of perceptions of colonial history. Frasqueri continued to release singles, such as Dragons, a Game of Thrones inspired piece, Honeysuckle, and Vicki Gotti until changing her moniker to Princess Nokia. She released her mixtape, 1992, on Soundcloud. She also began touring.
Frasqueri was praised for her feminism, especially after confronting a man yelling racial slurs on a subway train. She also founded the Smart Girls Club, a podcast where she discusses healthy living and urban feminism.”
Frasqueri claims Princess Nokia is an alter ego, which she introduced with the track “Nokia”. She released an album named Metallic Butterfly on May 12, 2014, and was debuted on Vice and Soundcloud. On September 8, 2017, she released her debut studio album, 1992 Deluxe, which was an expanded version of her 2016 mixtape, 1992. It peaked at number 25 on Billboard‘s Heatseekers Albums chart. NME listed it as the 32nd best album of 2017.
Nokia is slated to perform at the Treefort Music Fest in Boise, Idaho in March 2018. Nokia also has debuted a quirky new radio show on Apple’s Beats 1 Radio on February 18, 2018. Episodes will air every other Sunday and allow listeners to get acquainted with the inner workings of Nokia’s mind. She has a total of 6 episodes labeled, “The Voices in My Head with Princess Nokia.”
How Did I Find Out About Princess Nokia:
I think I found out about her like I find out about everyone else these days through the Internet. I think I heard her name through the grape-vine and then saw her interview with Brown University and loved they way she spoke and what she spoke about. In the interview she talked about her spirituality, urban feminism, loving pop-punk and being the weird kid in school. There was something about this that I could relate to and I was able to find that in her music as well. The way she talks about being a emo/goth/raver kid who makes hip-hop music I love it. I also love the way she talks about her spiritual background being Taino and black. She says she grew up going to pow-wows and being very connected to her Native American roots. She also owns being a young, brown, queer women from the Bronx.
I will be reviewing the 1992 Deluxe Addition that is on Spotify.
I first found out about Princess Nokia from her interviews first but then I checked out her song Brujas which is an ode to being a witch and Mami Wata the water spirit in many West African traditions. She talks about her orishas and being the head of her coven. She also talks about casting circles in white and vanquishing the dark. Oh and this song has one of my favorite lines in it: “I’m that Black-Native American I vanquish all evil”. It’s a very empowering song about spirituality.
I then listened to the rest of her album and I loved a lot of tracks of it. The album starts with Bart Simpson which is a relatable song about life at school growing up. It talks having a hard time in school and at home. Destiny has talked about how her home life growing up was hard. Her mom died when she was very little and she lived her abusive grandmother for a time until being put into the foster care system. She talks about that a little in the last few lines of the song. She compares the behavior of her grandmother to the crazy antics of Bart Simpson.
Green Line is an ode to the Green Line in New York and all the places it can take you. It’s a fun song with a good beat which takes us into Destiny’s world of growing up in New York City. ABCs of New York is another song about New York to which she gives you a word that goes with each letter of the alphabet.
The next song I like off the album is called Mine. It’s basically a song about hair. It starts off with a conversation of someone asking if they can touch it or if it’s theirs? To which Nokia answers no you can’t touch it you have no manners. Then she basically talks about if you bought your hair then it is yours and no one should touch it or ask if it’s yours. I like this song because too many people think they can touch your hair which is very disrespectful.
Excellent is a great song about that drive you must have to make it. It’s a very uplifting song and Destiny basically knows she is excellent.
Saggy Denim is a song about Princess Nokia’s love life, ethnicity and the designer clothes rappers where. Fashion has always been a big think in the hip-hop world since the first big Adidas deal happened with Run-DMC and Princess Nokia basically does an ode to that.
“I’m goth as f*ck
Even when I’m not in black
Gothic is the pain you feel and not the clothes that’s on your back”
Goth Kid is a great track about those kids who in middle/high school who were real goth then grew up and you still feel all dark and gloomy but don’t dress it anymore. She references Emily Strange, Wednesday Adams, Ginger Foutley and Carrie all incredible weird girl icons. On her apple music show “The Voices in My Head” Princess Nokia talked about a goth babysitter she once had who fascinated her and got her into all the emo/goth/pop punk stuff in her teen years. That’s sort of how it was for me only it was best friend that got me into all that music and stuff. Although I did already love Wednesday Adams.
G.O.A.T if you don’t know is The Greatest of All Time. I’ll let Princess Nokia explain this one.
So that is Princess Nokia in a nutshell. I really like her free spirit and her carefree life. She is an inspiration to all women trying to make a change through art. She is out here empowering women and young kids of color doing her own thing and being spiritual and I love her for that.
Till Next Time…Discover New Music!