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Princess Nokia, press 2017

What’s the deal with Princess Nokia?

Get to know the right royal MC and singer from Spanish Harlem

By Tracy Kawalik
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Who’s that?
Afro-Nuyorican MC Destiny Frasqueri (aka Princess Nokia) is a ferocious rapper you definitely need in your life. A self-defined tomboy and feminist, Nokia’s lyrical prowess on the mic – backed by her unrelenting beats – has already produced a pretty hot stash of stone-cold bangers.

So she’s not your average MC?
Far from it. Despite only a short time on the scene, Nokia’s established herself as boldly experimental. Seamlessly swerving between Donna Summer-esque vocals on one mixtape to fearlessly slick rap on the next.

Who’s talking about her?
Nokia’s been hyped by the likes of Mykki Blanco and MIA so far, and has recently signed to the mighty Rough Trade label. She’s been pegged by FACT, Mixmag and The Fader as one to watch, and has played numerous sell-out gigs and festival dates across the globe. Not to mention her latest mixtape-turned-EP ‘1992’ being heralded by Rolling Stone as one of the best under the radar albums of last year.

Sounds good. What else should I know?
Alongside being a rapper, Princess Nokia hosts a one-woman podcast called ‘Smart Girl Club’ where she shares her advice on being a queer woman. A talk she gave at Brown University about magical identity and being a witch also went viral recently.

Hold up! Did you say witch?
Sure did. Check out her track ‘Brujas’, where Princess Nokia taps into her Yoruban and Taíno roots, and the magical divinity she says was passed down to her by her mother and grandmothers. In the song, she casts a curse on all the haters with lyrics such as ‘Don’t fuck with my energy’ and ‘We is them ghetto witches, speaking in tongue bitches, fall on the floor, got sage on the door.’

What’s she like live?
Princess Nokia’s shows are as wild and eclectic as she is. The former Spanish Harlem go-go dancer and club kid fuses her love of sweaty punk with raw underground hip hop, meaning you’ll most likely catch her moshing into the front row, winding down low, gyrating against speakers or even dropping into the splits.

I’m hooked. Any shows coming up?
Catch her on the West Stage at Sunfall – held in Brockwell Park this weekend (Saturday August 12).

Discover another musical New Yorker

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