Princess Nokia Live at Lollapalooza Aftershow [GALLERY]
Photos © 2021 by: Riley James
Photos © 2021 by: Riley James
Check out more great live photos here!
Culture dictates its own leaders. As the mainstream morphs after generations of homogeny, today’s outsiders demand a voice in the spotlight. Princess Nokia certainly speaks up. Unassumingly, yet naturally, she fills the void with rigorous, raw, and real honesty encased inside of razor sharp raps. The New York-born Puerto Rican MC, singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, style icon, actress, and activist amplifies her own voice across music, fashion, film, and society. She may have been born Destiny Frasqueri, but today, Princess Nokia projects a symbol of possibility—proving the power of authenticity supported by a growing movement.
A book-worthy journey brought her to this point. After losing her mother and shuffling in-and-out of foster care for half of her life, she rose above all manner of trials and tribulations and chronicled it in poetry.
Soon, those poems transformed into anthems across early mixtapes and projects, including Honeysuckle, Vicki Gotti, and 1992. After a series of releases, she infiltrated the conversation with the 2017 independent breakthrough, 1992 Deluxe [Rough Trade]. Not only did it reach the Top 25 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart, but NME pegged it among “The Albums of the Year,” Noisey graded it “A,” and The Guardian rated it 4-out-of-5 stars. Regularly selling out headline tours, often directing her own videos, and consistently churning out tens of millions of streams, she kept her business independent and made calculated moves to be heard even louder—ranging from hosting an Apple Music Beats 1 Radio show “The Voice in My Head with Princess Nokia” to co-starring in the high-profile Maison Margiela launch for Mutiny.
Along the way, she also engendered widespread tastemaker acclaim extensively profiled by everyone New York Times, Stereogum, Vice, and more. However, Princess Nokia continued to ceaselessly push herself creatively.
Retreating to Los Angeles to record new music, she endeavored to evolve in 2019. That evolution crystallizes on the single “Sugar Honey Iced Tea (S.H.I.T.)”. During a trip to Puerto Rico, the song came to life from a poem, much like her earliest compositions. Except this time, she penned the empowering lyrics on the beach. When she returned, she took the reins as far as production goes, making decisions to add rich choir and boisterous horns. The track earned earned major praise everywhere from Vogue to Rolling Stone to E!, and more. She released a Genius Verified and VEVO CNTRL session for the track and graced the cover of Cultured Magazine that same month. Follow up single “Balenciaga” a biting, razor sharp track on which Princess Nokia sets her confidence front and center as she blocks out designer label followers and dresses for herself.
Early in 2020, Princess Nokia released not one, but two new albums. To celebrate, the iconic NYC rapper made her late night debut tonight on The Late Late Show with James Corden performing a medley of songs from Everything Sucks and Everything Is Beautiful.
Everything Sucks is a brash, ruthless and insistent collection of ten songs written primarily over one cathartic week in NYC with production by longtime friend and collaborator Chris Lare. The album opens with a trio of songs “Harley Quinn”, “Crazy House” and “Welcome To The Circus,” that transport listeners to a haunted funhouse nightmare. On “Practice” she delivers Everything Sucks’ manifesto in the line “I brought punk to Hip Hop.”
Everything is Beautiful is an introspective cultural revelation. The album is a representation of the sensitive, feminine side of the gender fluid artist. It was written and recorded over the course of 2 years everywhere from New York to Puerto Rico to LA mostly with live instrumentation, which you can hear alongside Nokia’s cascading cadence on the jazz-inflected single “Green, Eggs & Ham.” On “Soulfood” she shares her Nuyorican experience and “Gemini” explores a wide range of influences from hip hop classics like Tribe Called Quest to the gothic rock of The Doors with the refrain “riders on the storm.” She collaborates with GRAMMY-nominated producer Terrace Martin (Kendrick Lamar) on the neo-spiritual “Blessings.”
The New York Times Magazine says Princess Nokia has “what it takes to light up the stage,” spotlighting her as one of 12 performers to watch in an issue out in 2019. Following a series of releases, in 2017 she infiltrated the cultural conversation with her independent breakthrough, 1992 Deluxe. Not only did it reach the Top 25 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart, but NME pegged it among “The Albums of the Year,” Noisey graded it “A,” and The Guardian rated it 4-out-of-5 stars. Regularly selling out headline tours and consistently churning out tens of millions of streams, she keeps her business independent with calculated moves to be heard even louder—ranging from hosting an Apple Music Beats 1 Radio show “The Voice in My Head with Princess Nokia” to co-starring in the high-profile Maison Margiela launch for Mutiny, to making her acting debut starring in Angelfish, with additional acting credits and entrepreneurial endeavors to be announced soon.
Quietly rising up as a voice the game needs, Princess Nokia continues to rap for all the right reasons. As she puts it on “S.H.I.T.,” she affirms, “Don’t do this shit to be famous, I do this shit because I love it.”
She might just be the voice the culture needs.
See Princess Nokia live:
Sept 26 – The Governors Ball, New York, NY
Sept 29 – The Masquerade, Atlanta, GA
Oct 1 – House of Blues, Houston, TX
Oct 2 – The HiFi, Dallas, TX
Oct 6 – The Fonda Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
Oct 7 – The Midway, San Francisco, CA
Oct 10 – Showbox SODO, Seattle, WA
Oct 12 – The Depot, Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 13 – Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, Denver, CO
Oct 15 – First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
Oct 18 – Majestic Theatre, Detroit, MI
Oct 19 – Roxian Theatre – Pittsburgh, PA*
Oct 21 – TLA, Philadelphia, PA
Oct 22 – The Fillmore, Silver Spring, MD
Oct 27 – Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
Riley J Media: