Princess Nokia Is Making Space For People Who "Don't Have A Voice Yet" In Music

Princess Nokia 

Photo: Burak Cingi/Redferns


Princess Nokia Is Making Space For People Who "Don't Have A Voice Yet" In Music

Meet Princess Nokia, an Afro-Latina rapper making space in music for women with intersecting identities

GRAMMYs/Sep 20, 2018 - 02:59 am

More than a rapper and singer, Destiny Frasqueri aka Princess Nokia is a fighter. The story behind her journey into music says it all. Her re-birth as a music artist transpired thanks to the moments after she left her abusive foster mother. She was in her mid-teens and had just three dollars in her pocket – "That was really the start of Princess Nokia," she says in Destiny, a documentary about her by The Fader.  

Musically, Princess Nokia embodies energy that derives from her Nuyorican, Bruja—or witch in Spanish—and her queer identity with beats that will make you move. Her "all the girls to front attitude" at her shows is just an ounce of the kind of artist and performer she is. Flowing from rapping to singing, Princess Nokia's music is about taking up space as a woman with intersecting identities and reflects her musical adaptability. "I'm that Black a-Rican bruja straight out from the Yoruba/ And my people come from Africa diaspora, Cuba," she raps in her song "Bruja."

Through three albums – she has also released music under a former moniker, Wavy Spice – she has continued to carve out a space for herself. Her album 1992 Deluxe peaked at No. 25 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, which tracks up-and-coming artists, and she has played major festivals including Coachella and Afropunk.

"I felt it was time to speak my truth and represent an identity and an intersection that many people like myself don't have a voice yet in hip-hop," she told Noisey.

Her latest album is a dive into emo music and just goes to show how there really are no boxes for Princess Nokia's sound. Learn more about her music with the videos below.


Under a different moniker, Wavy Spice, Princess Nokia paid tribute to her Taino, a group of Indigenous people that inhabited the Caribbean, roots with "YAYA." She mixes a rap beat with a Native sound and features lyrics both in English and Taino. "In my heart I feel something/ No one can deny it/ History can tell you something/ But they‘re always lying/ You must know I came with something/ So don’t even try it/ Warrior blood, got warrior blood/Hear my people crying," she sings.


As Princess Nokia, Frasqueri continues to make music that reflects who she is. In "Brujas," she honors her Yoruba, a faith and a people descending from West Africa, roots and family tree, which includes grandmothers who were witches. She paired the song with a video she co-directed with Asli Baykal, in which she lets her curly fro shine and begins with an indigenous song.


Princess Nokia continues to rap about what makes her her in "Tomboy," her self-love anthem. With a bouncy beat, Princess Nokia embraces her breast-size and unapologetic, non-conforming style that sometimes includes her hoops, baggy pants and Timberland boots. In the video she wears oversized sweaters and a gold plated chain with "Destiny" it. 

"Your Eyes Are Bleeding"

It may not be obvious, but Princess Nokia is a huge alt-rock fan. As Remezcla points out, those who follow Princess Nokia on social media, may know how much she loves the likes of Blink-182 and Paramore. "Your Eyes Are Bleeding" is one single out of A Girl Cried Red, her latest album in which she goes all out emo. "I wanted to write a mixtape that was about falling apart and being a fucking mess," she said about the album in a live Instagram chat. 

Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More



Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More

The Nigerian-American singer and actor sat down with the Recording Academy to talk about what inspired his latest album, 'Walk With Me'

GRAMMYs/Jul 8, 2019 - 10:04 pm

In 2015, Rotimi stepped into the New Orleans Superdome for the first time to experience the magic of ESSENCE Fest. Four years later, in 2019, the "Love Riddim" singer returned to the celebration as a performer, something he said was spoken into existence.

"Last year me and my manager had a conversation and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to be on the [ESSENCE] mainstage this year. 365 days later, we did it," Rotimi told the Recording Academy at the 25th annual ESSENCE Fest.

Rotimi, also an actor on Starz' "Power," has evolved since his last album, 2017's Jeep Music, Vol.1. The singer said he really hit home with its follow-up, the recently released Walk With Me, a project he worked hard for, putting in hours in the studio after filming on set.

"Walk With Me is the first time I actually felt like I was giving myself as an artist, and personally I feel like with everything else I have going on I wanted to show people that this is really what I do," he said. "I wanted people to understand who Rotimi is, who Rotimi was before, who I want to be and just understand my growth and the journey and my passion for what I do."

Part of why the album felt like such a representation of him is because it embodies beats of his African roots, something he said was very present growing up Nigerian-American. 

"I grew up with a lot of Fela Kuti and I grew up with Bob Marley," he said of his musical roots. "But I also grew up with Carl Thomas and Genuine and Usher, so there was a genuine mixture of who I am and what I've grown up to listen to. The actual Walk With Me project was a mixture of influences of Akon and Craig David."

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Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY


Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY

Director Allen Hughes' four-part documentary takes home Best Music Film honors for its portrayal of the unlikely partnership that changed the music business

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 02:09 am

The team behind The Defiant Ones celebrated a big win for Best Music Film at the 60th GRAMMY Awards. The crew awarded include director Allen Hughes and producers Sarah Anthony, Fritzi Horstman, Broderick Johnson, Gene Kirkwood, Andrew Kosove, Laura Lancaster, Michael Lombardo, Jerry Longarzo, Doug Pray & Steven Williams.

In a year rife with quality music documentaries and series, the bar has been set high for this dynamic category. The Defiant Ones is a four-part HBO documentary telling the story of an unlikely duo taking the music business by storm seems better suited for fantastical pages of a comic book, but for engineer-turned-mogul Jimmy Iovine and super-producer Dr. Dre, it's all truth.The Defiant Ones recounts their histories, their tribulations and their wild success. These include first-hand accounts from those who were there in Iovine's early days, such as Bruce Springsteen and U2's Bono, as well as those on board when Dre and Iovine joined forces, such as Snoop Dogg and Eminem.

The competition was stiff as the category was filled with compelling films such as One More Time With Feeling, Two Trains Runnin', Soundbreaking, and Long Strange Trip. 

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Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam

Photo: Kevin Mazur/


Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors

Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2019 - 04:05 am

Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.

McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award

The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.

"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."

With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.

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Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs



Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs

Also see James Fauntleroy, Reba McIntire, Latroit, and more after they stepped off the GRAMMY stage

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 05:39 am

What do artists do the moment they walk off the GRAMMY stage from presenting, accepting an award or performing? Now, you can find out.

Take a peak at Album Of The Year GRAMMY winner Bruno Mars, 60th GRAMMY Awards Host James Cordon, Cardi B minutes before her electrifying performance of "Finesse," and more!

Also see Best Pop Duo/Group Performance GRAMMY winners Portugal. The Man posing with their first career GRAMMY Award, Best Roots Gospel Album GRAMMY winner Reba McIntire right after she walked offstage, Best R&B Song GRAMMY winner James Fauntleroy, Best Remixed Recording GRAMMY winner Latroit, and many more, with these photos from backstage during the 60th GRAMMY Awards.

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