Written by Kimberly B. Johnson
24-year-old New York-born rapper and singer Destiny Frasqueri, also known by her alter ego Princess Nokia, is nothing short of glorious, abrupt, and charismatic hip-hop gold, entering 2017 with a wildly successful debut EP and European tour behind her.
Frasqueri grew up between Spanish Harlem and the Lower East Side of New York hosting parties and go-go dancing in the early 2000s at age 16.
Her musical debut took place in the mid-2000s as Wavy Spice. She began recording music and performing under the early pseudonym utilizing networking tools and platforms such as SoundCloud, YouTube and Myspace to grow her fanbase.
Some years later, Frasqueri reincarnated into her current, domineering and well-fitting alter ego, Princess Nokia.
In an interview with Bullet Magazine, Nokia explains her alter ego and her voice:
"As Princess Nokia, I can project the multi-dimensional aspects of myself that I could not express with the name Wavy Spice. I can venture into any realm of music or character of my choosing without confusion.
I’m making worldly music – music that will talk to all kinds of people. Banjee girls in Harlem, teen brides in the Middle East, gay boys in East Asia. Labels no longer matter.
My new music is cosmic and three-dimensional, and it will really speak of who Princess Nokia is. Princess Nokia is sound. It is progression. It is all that I am."
In 2014, she collaborated with producer OWWWLS on the high energy, electro-infused track "Dragons" – her first song and must-see video premiere as Princess Nokia. Having only released singles for a number of years, Princess Nokia debuted her first EP, 1992, in September of 2016.
With grace, sex appeal and heavy rhymes a la Lil’ Kim, Biggie and whole Junior Mafia, she meshes this sound with the wavy aesthetic of Aaliyah, coming into her own musically and visually.
As the years progressed, Nokia's capabilities in challenging norms of millennial female strength and sexuality have become more and more apparent, with each musical and visual installment widening the idea of what a woman should and could be.
The EP’s single "Tomboy" is a good example with a chant praising Nokia’s "little titties and fat belly" and girls in the street skating and riding around on the top of a mid-90s Honda Civic waving a figurative and literal middle finger to socially accepted norms of femininity.
In 2016, alongside collaborator Milah Libin, who also designed the music video for "Dragons," Nokia started the urban feminist podcast and collective Smart Girls Club, which aims to empower women of all shapes, sizes, colors, sexualities and orientations by focusing on creative collaboration and celebration between women.
The songstress rounded off last year with intensity, concluding her first European tour in October and released the self-directed metaphysically-centered and culturally representative music video for "Brujas."
She promptly followed up by premiering the video for her track "Kitana," which finds Nokia and her click in white tees, sweatpants and basketball shorts boxing on the court blacktop, per usual, defying misogynistic laws of female physicality and the notion that strength, decisiveness and independence somehow negate sexiness.
Nokia furthered her accessibility to her fans by debuting a palpably intimate chronicle of life inside the mind of a young and growing Destiny Frasqueri, with The Fader mini music documentary, DESTINY (watch below).
Keeping momentum high, Frasqueri is entering 2017 musically and socially stronger than ever, having just debuted the first installment of the Smart Girls Club podcast following the new year and returning back on tour to hit France, Belgium, Sweden and the UK beginning this January.
You can keep up with the progression and impending domination of Princess Nokia here.