by Dev Montañez
Princess Nokia is the hip hop project of Destiny Frasqueri, an Afro-Boricua MC born and bred in NYC.
In September, she released her mixtape 1992, an ode to her birth year, where she laces together angsty “fuck-you” verses in “Bart Simpson” and “Tomboy”, along with “Bruja” that talks of her Taino ancestry, and “Excellent” where Nokia praises herself for the work she puts in daily. It’s a 9 song masterpiece that exude such confidence that makes you never want to be on the bad side of Nokia.
Princess Nokia’s pride in her Puerto Rican identity speaks to me as a person who now feels disconnected from their Boricua family, and feels like a small piece of home every time she spits a rhyme that talks about the homeland.
Her refusal to sign to a label and market herself as a product to her fans, to make music just to make money, also speaks to the DIY punk rock baby in me. She spits truth, through her rhymes, in her interviews, and, most recently, the mini documentary that was released via The Fader that chronicled the making of 1992. Princess Nokia’s videos, and the documentary, aren’t extravagant; they show her in baggy jeans and t-shirts, recording in a small room in an apartment in NYC filled with garbage, as the androgynous skater kid who grew up in old New York, before gentrification softened a lot of the edge.
She’s an MC for the brown girls who are forgotten about but won’t let you forget them.