This time last year, fans were bumping the highly anticipated mixtape 1992 by Princess Nokia. Today, Princess Nokia re-released the project, but this time through her label Rough Trade Records and as a deluxe album. If 1992 the mixtape was a love letter to life in New York City for ’90s babies who grew up in the ’00s, then 1992 the album is sort of like a P.S. of eight additional tracks:
Saggy Denim ft. Wiki
ABCs of New York *
Goth Kid *
Brick City *
Chinese Slippers *
1992 encapsulates the essence of the ’90s-’00s effortlessly. From anime to typical hood shit to internet cyber worlds and back, 1992 is a nostalgic ride. Being that rap is a direct expression of the black and brown experience, sometimes harsh, but other times a party despite the harshness, Princess Nokia was able to curate and dissect the hood girls’ narrative with a millennial twist.
Here’s the new video for FLAVA
Princess Nokia cannot be confined to a singular style or genre or aesthetic, because she is all of them. Never does she come off as gimmicky, as each track is an anthology of her many interests. The Princess Nokia experience is very much so like the smooth transition that '90s babies made from cassette to CD to digital. At first glance, everything seems disoriented, as you never know what you’re going to get. But like a rap gumbo, all the pieces matter to create a cohesive taste.
With the recent resurgence of NY rappers returning to the forefront of hip-hop with their traditional sound, not mimicking that of the South, Princess Nokia remains above the trend and continues to give that very New York gutter grimy rap style. Two stand out tracks, “G.O.A.T” and “Receipts” highlight that sentiment. Both are very Harlem and very braggadocious. The video for G.O.A.T is reminiscent to the Dipset reign (out of Harlem) back in ‘05-’08 feature big leather jackets, expensive car, and iced out jewelry.
But on “Receipts,” Princess Nokia really flexes her rap ability. The track’s instrumental replicates Wu-Tang’s menacing tone but keeping to her ballroom culture she’s bragging and pull up receipts: "This is Princess Nokia and I don’t give no fucks/ I just light my L and I do my work/ make a big exhale and I turn and burp/ you don’t like my style? well okay that’s cool/ because my money real long and i am not like you/ i’m an old school hoe with a new school flow/ I refused to be supported and got my own damn show.” All facts.
Back 2012 or 2013, deep in blue Tumblr abyss, I stumbled upon what I remember to be known as Cream Team, a collective of black and brown girls maneuvering through the internet rapping. The team consisted of Junglepussy, Dai Burger, and Wavy Spice. Wavy Spice had turned out hits like “YAYA,” “Versace Hottie,” and (my personal jam) “Bitch I’m Posh.” Wavy Spice would later became Princess Nokia. Though I’m very proud of her and her success, I’m more grateful for the visibility and spaces she’s created for black and brown girls.
Check out this old mini doc of Wavy Spice//Princess Nokia as a point of reference of her growth:
Photo: Princess Nokia "G.O.A.T."
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Bry'onna Mention is a digital editor at BUST and a wavvy womanist who is always ready to square up against misogynoir and respectability. She can usually be found running through the burbs with her ‘fro. Catch her on the internet at @radsadblackbry or firstname.lastname@example.org.