PREMIERE: Princess Nokia “Tomboy”
The Boricua mami gets open about her little titties and phat belly
Destiny Frasqueri, better known as Princess Nokia, née Wavy Spice, aka Destiny, is as metamorphic as her stage names. In 2010, she made her debut in New York’s underground grime scene, releasing anthems like the sing-song ’90s-nostalgic “Bitch I’m Posh.” A free-flowing entity, Spice became Princess Nokia in 2014, dropping Metallic Butterfly, the anime-inspired, futuristic mixtape where Destiny takes on the roles of sexy Internet hacker, Boricua cyborg, and Taíno goddess. Ever-changing, she moved from the early 2000s Myspace layout-vibes found in “Cybiko” for a more soulful, ‘70s inspired sound heard in “Soul Train,” as she dances down the streets of the L.E.S.
Back to Princess Nokia, her newest EP, 1992, explores identity, race, dismantles the male gaze, all the while staying true to her inner Boricua banshee. “Who Dat,” the latest single off of 1992, makes men uncomfortable, challenges Western notions of beauty, and brings the power back to the pussy!
Mass Appeal: You’re a hell of a woman, ever evolving. Some people know you as the “22nd century hood girl” Princess Nokia, others simply as the ’70s neo-feminist disco queen Destiny, and if you’re really about it, the Nuyorican banjee Wavy Spice. Talk to me about your stylistic evolution.
Princess Nokia: I’m just a squirrel in your world, tryna get a nut.
I think I sort of always hide my mental health disorders and incompetence with music. I go through phases though, and so the public has to deal with it.
“Who Dat,” a single from your upcoming EP, 1992, is somewhat a return to your banshee bitch rap style. What inspired this banger?
I just woke up one day and randomly wrote a song about having no titties. I’m really into the fact that I could walk into any room and snatch any man in there like it’s nothing. A cup, baggy sweatpants, and a fucked up ponytail and they’ll still love me. I am one captivating son a bitch, and “Who Dat” is about that juice. Who I am and what makes me me, the New York City project rat; the messy but beautiful; the sloppy but still sexy. When you got the juice, everybody wants to drink from your pitcher.
Both of us being women (of color), we understand the extent to which our image has been molded by patriarchy—and colonialism, for that matter—forcing us conform to archaic notions of “beauty,” and “sex appeal” to please the male gaze. This song dismantles that entirely.
Totally. I mean, our society has created these unattainable body images and beauty “norms” that are super un-relatable for people like us. So that’s why you got to make it work for you. I make my own shit work for me—I manipulate the male gaze. This is my body, and you’re going to look at me, world, whether or not you like it. But they all do [Laughs].
Yes! On that note, as another cardholding member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee, it’s refreshing to hear someone embrace their small boobs and their “fat belly.” Why is it so important for you to preach body positivity?
Because it’s so important to reclaim your power. How? By falling in love with all your flaws. I’ve done fallen in love with all of mine. I see my existence as a big fuck you to conventionality. Sure I have little titties and a phat belly, but that doesn’t make me less of a goddess, less of an aphrodisiac. You know? Everything on my body is beautiful: my stretch marks, my boobs, and my belly that always makes me look a little pregnant…or like the Grinch.
“Tomboy” is not for the light-hearted. Beginning like a somewhat Tarantino-esque title song, your lyrics become somewhat reminiscent of a quasi-Lil Kim-circa-Hard Core. Some people are still not used to and get uncomfortable when hearing women rap about they vaginas or sex. Do you think that’ll change as gender norms continue to be tore down?
Definitely! The patriarchy, the dick-swinging: it’s all boring, and it makes me snooze. Male energy is currently being challenged by alpha female energy. By softness, by right-brain beauty. With that aside, I still like to make people feel uncomfortable and in a sense, fuck up their senses, while I blow them kisses. Clearly, I do this metaphorically through my raps.
You’re a Calvin Klein model, a motivational speaker, and an all-round creative, but still rock your gold hoops, name chain, Timbs, and make sure your baby hairs are always laid. How do you stay true Destiny as you continue to rise in the music world?
Honestly, I’m such a nerdy asshole. I hate corny people; I could care less for industry parties. I don’t use my career as a one-up over people, you know? I’m the same ol’ crazy kid I’ve always been. I’m not the hype, at all, but I just know what works for me. And, most importantly, I play the game before I let it play me. I’m still a bummy stoner, who wears dirty sneakers. Still a Boricua mami with the Avirex in 2016. I show up to dance dinners and head scarves because I like to be me: always. It’s kind of hilarious though, because my life is Princess Nokia, but I’m still one of those wholesome awkward kids who doesn’t fit in.