Photo: Burak Cingi/Redferns
Princess Nokia Is Making Space For People Who "Don't Have A Voice Yet" In Music
More than a rapper and singer, Destiny Frasqueri aka Princess Nokia is a fighter. The story behind her journey into music says it all. Her re-birth as a music artist transpired thanks to the moments after she left her abusive foster mother. She was in her mid-teens and had just three dollars in her pocket – "That was really the start of Princess Nokia," she says in Destiny, a documentary about her by The Fader.
Roses r Red Violets r Blue
Everything sucks but Blink-182 pic.twitter.com/xNjgpLt8IY
— Princess Nokia (@princessnokia) September 4, 2018
Musically, Princess Nokia embodies energy that derives from her Nuyorican, Bruja—or witch in Spanish—and her queer identity with beats that will make you move. Her "all the girls to front attitude" at her shows is just an ounce of the kind of artist and performer she is. Flowing from rapping to singing, Princess Nokia's music is about taking up space as a woman with intersecting identities and reflects her musical adaptability. "I'm that Black a-Rican bruja straight out from the Yoruba/ And my people come from Africa diaspora, Cuba," she raps in her song "Bruja."
Through three albums – she has also released music under a former moniker, Wavy Spice – she has continued to carve out a space for herself. Her album 1992 Deluxe peaked at No. 25 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, which tracks up-and-coming artists, and she has played major festivals including Coachella and Afropunk.
"I felt it was time to speak my truth and represent an identity and an intersection that many people like myself don't have a voice yet in hip-hop," she told Noisey.
Her latest album is a dive into emo music and just goes to show how there really are no boxes for Princess Nokia's sound. Learn more about her music with the videos below.
Under a different moniker, Wavy Spice, Princess Nokia paid tribute to her Taino, a group of Indigenous people that inhabited the Caribbean, roots with "YAYA." She mixes a rap beat with a Native sound and features lyrics both in English and Taino. "In my heart I feel something/ No one can deny it/ History can tell you something/ But they‘re always lying/ You must know I came with something/ So don’t even try it/ Warrior blood, got warrior blood/Hear my people crying," she sings.
As Princess Nokia, Frasqueri continues to make music that reflects who she is. In "Brujas," she honors her Yoruba, a faith and a people descending from West Africa, roots and family tree, which includes grandmothers who were witches. She paired the song with a video she co-directed with Asli Baykal, in which she lets her curly fro shine and begins with an indigenous song.
Princess Nokia continues to rap about what makes her her in "Tomboy," her self-love anthem. With a bouncy beat, Princess Nokia embraces her breast-size and unapologetic, non-conforming style that sometimes includes her hoops, baggy pants and Timberland boots. In the video she wears oversized sweaters and a gold plated chain with "Destiny" it.
"Your Eyes Are Bleeding"
It may not be obvious, but Princess Nokia is a huge alt-rock fan. As Remezcla points out, those who follow Princess Nokia on social media, may know how much she loves the likes of Blink-182 and Paramore. "Your Eyes Are Bleeding" is one single out of A Girl Cried Red, her latest album in which she goes all out emo. "I wanted to write a mixtape that was about falling apart and being a fucking mess," she said about the album in a live Instagram chat.