Afro-Nuyorican individualist Princess Nokia's diasporic influences and fresh, brassy lyrics speak to fringe characters and category hybrids across the world: "banjee girls in Harlem, teen brides in the Middle East, gay boys in East Asia. Labels no longer matter."
The Bronx-based artist born Destiny Frasqueri began rapping under the alias Wavy Spice, turning out tracks like "Bitch I'm Posh" and "YAYA," a tribute to her indigenous roots and a colonial damnation. As Destiny, she released Honeysuckle, a topical 2015 mixtape of melted-together disco, blues, funk and soul that called for healing and positivity in the face of declining civil rights and systemic neglect of black and brown communities. As Princess Nokia, Frasqueri is all things at once. "I can project the multi-dimensional aspects of myself," she told Bullet Magazine. "I can venture into any realm of music or character of my choosing without confusion. I’m making worldly music—music that will talk to all kinds of people." In one standout track from her 2016 homage to old-school hip-hop, 1992, she raps: "I'm that Blackorican bruja / Straight out from the Yoruba / And my people come from Africa-diaspora Cuba…Don’t you fuck with my energy!" Her penchant for serving up high-impact identity politics primed for club play has led to collaborations with post-gender rap provocateur Mykki Blanco and hip hop crew Ratking. Frasqueri is also a co-founder of Smart Girl Club, an urban feminist collective that aims to empower women of all shapes, sizes, colors, sexualities and orientations through workshops, panel discussions, pop-ups and more.