Release Date: Sep 8, 2017
Record label: Rough Trade
This “Jewish, Puerto Rican, and a little bit Italian” rapper from New York, a “nerdy girl with nymphomanic tendencies”, who refers to Emily the Strange as well as cooking crack, delivers on her potential as one of 2017’s most exciting new MCs. Over gorgeous beats that range from head-nodding old-school loops to a vogueish kind of haunted industrial emo-trap, Princess Nokia asserts ownership of every part of her being, from her weave (“It’s mine, I bought it” she says, adding to Solange in the canon of anti-hair-touching classics) to her “little titties and fat belly”. Her flow has the freewheeling energy of the battle freestyle, and often forgoes narrative in favour of a stream of boastful non-sequiturs about Mortal Kombat and Blue’s Clues, but, through sheer force of charisma, her blunt edges still cause major damage.
The much-hyped MC’s first outing on Rough Trade sears with her trademark eclectic vitality. 1992 Deluxe revisits last year’s 1992 mixtape, with remasters of original tracks plus seven new songs, all of which find her rapping over tantalising production with nonchalant confidence – whether it be a love letter to her native New York, a boisterous ode to witchcraft, a cool takedown of people trying to touch her hair, or even a surreal rendition of the Fast Food Song to close the album. One of the most exciting, assured hip-hop releases of the year, on which Princess Nokia asserts her claim to the throne..
Destiny Frasqueri, better known as the Afro-Nuyorican rapper Princess Nokia, has spent the past five years searching for her sound. In 2016, she released a nine-track mixtape called 1992, named for her birth year and the era when her native New York City held a gritty dominance over hip-hop. She has always been a rapper with her shoe on the throat of her doubters, but 1992 was decidedly tougher than 2014.
Princess Nokia showcases confidence, grit and versatility on 1992 Deluxe. A re-issue of her 2016 mixtape, the remastered effort features eight new tracks and so many distinct personas that it's hard to believe there's only one person rapping throughout. Nokia channels Cam'Ron on older favourites like "Saggy Denim" and evokes Bahamadia on "Green Line." "ABCs of New York" is deliciously regional, while the West Coast-inspired "Chinese Slippers" ensures Nokia doesn't box herself in sonically. She employs a coquettish squeak on "Mine" and ….
Princess Nokia's debut album is oscillating, introspective and at times chaotic. It serves to complicate rather than explain or define the New York rapper’s own identity. She is an urban feminist, a ghetto bruja, an Afro-Latina, a New Yorker. She is all this and more. Released on Rough Trade records, 1992 Deluxe remasters and extends Princess Nokia’s 2016 EP with an additional seven songs. It is the zenith of half a decade of hype, during which the rapper has released three EPs under three names (Wavy Spice, Destiny and her current moniker)..