words: Abbie Jones
Destiny Frasqueri is the rapper, activist and a patron saint of girl power known by the name of Princess Nokia. Frasqueri is an artist imbued with purpose and something to prove, as her songs tackle female autonomy, empowerment and the importance of embracing your sexuality.
In growing up between Spanish Harlem and the Lower East Side of New York, Frasqueri songs revive the days of New York’s gritter side before gentrification. Her songs pay homage to early 90s hip-hop artist as she innovates with the prime-era of Missy Elliott and Salt-N-Pepa. In each release, Nokia’s production and rap skills have only sharpened, yet she remains true to the DIY spirit, refusing to sign to major labels.
Her rhymes force you to stand up and take notice. In live performance, Nokia takes the stage with an empowering swagger where she is often sided by her girl squad upfront. She affirms her authority and power on stage as the self-sufficient strong woman that smashes sexist challenges and gender binary. Her spirit is confident and energetic, enough to encourage every hand in the air and unify the crowd.
Nokia is never the kind of girl to fall into stereotypes. In one minute she’s a glamorous powerhouse feminist and the next, a down to earth tomboy, sporting a sports bra and baggy jeans. Her flow is relentless, stuffing verses with agile shifts in characters and complex internal rhythms. Nokia’s new mixtape 1992 is a blazing nine-song production that explores her ideals of feminism, sexuality, dedication to her Taino Bruja Heritage and her love affair with New York City. Whether she’s cruising on the sixth train as the “green line chick”, skateboarding in the Lower East Side or eating Spanish food in Central Park, Nokia’s love for the city rolls deep.
She sounds unstoppable on “Brujas” as she favors self-confidence over male-dictated beauty ideals. She delivers the powerful anthem as a statement of solidarity and pride in her afro-latinx heritage. Nokia continues to exemplify what it means to be yourself, in her deep-rooted love for her culture, body-image and heritage. “Bart Simpson” relishes Nokia’s tomboy cool as she cuts class, lies to her teacher and reads her favorite Marvel comic books. She shuts down idealized beauty standards, spitting lines like “I really like marble cues characters look just like me and women don’t have roles that make them look to sexually”.
Body positivity and feminine autonomy is a recurring theme throughout Nokia’s songs. A whistle and drum roll set off “Tomboy” like a firecracker, Nokia spits an in-your face anthem that knocks down the male gaze with both poise and bravado. She raps with ferocity and vigor on lines that roll off the tongue, “With my little titties and my phat belly/ I could take your man if you finna let me/It’s a guarantee that he won’t forget me/My body little my soul is heavy”. Nokia asserts the right to define her own sexuality and challenge the hierarchy that equates female beauty. Her words speak to girls who continuously fight to carve out spaces from themselves in various male-dominated scenes. “1992” is a mixtape loaded with self-love and body positivity, making it the perfect album for boogying alone in your bedroom or taking the streets with your favorite girl gang.