60 Seconds With Princess Nokia

October 19, 2016

New York native Princess Nokia, a.k.a Destiny Nicole Frasqueri, has come up on the music scene offering an honest outlook on the world around us, with her underground melodic hip-hop sound. As an independent artist she embraces, feminism, happiness and individuality. Growing up in NYC has paved the influence for many of her songs, inviting the idea of both freedom and restrictions of daily life. Speaking with Princess Nokia, we got an insight into her writing process, purpose and the inspiration behind her new album, ‘1992’. 

Tell us about the inspiration behind the new album.

I just like making music and everywhere I’d go in New York, I’d just write a bunch of records, walking around and hanging around the city. I’d just have fun, going bike riding, grabbing pizza and going swimming. I like my city a lot, and I love just walking around it and being around it, so I wrote the majority of the songs just doing that – incorporating these gorgeous elements that encompassed having a really great time in New York.

Is there a specific song that you remember writing?

I wrote this song called Green Line, and I specifically wrote it in Jefferson Park where I went to elementary school. I wrote these really specific rhymes, and I smoke so much, so I remember being really hungry. I went in a span of five blocks to four different places to eat, all on the same avenue, and I just rhymed about that. In the song I talk about every restaurant that I went to.

Can you spit us a verse from the song?

“Patsy’s for the eats, Casablanca for the meats, La Tropezienne for the bread, went to Hajjis got a Philly cheese instead, round the corner to Ollin cos u know I’m Mexican”

So Patsy’s is the pizza shop, Casablanca was the meat shop – I didn’t go to the meat shop though, that was just a staple of Harlem. La Tropezienne is the french bread shop and Hajjis is the Philly cheese steak spot, and then you got Ollin the Mexican spot. East Harlem is so vibrant, I like talking about the neighbourhood and all the restaurants. So yeah, this was a really specific song and day.

How do you find it being an independent artist and promoting yourself?

I’m a very secluded person when it comes to certain things. I have ways about me and my business, how I share certain parts of my life with people and I just find that, I’m better off being a singular person in life. Sometimes, that’s to do with my social life, art, business life – that’s just me. I know myself very well and what works best for me, so the only way I can work best, to my full potential is being by myself a lot. I have a small team – a friend and an agent, a very small team, but it works for me.

I also, have a wonderful following, you know, I’ve been with the kids for many years and they’ve been down with me since day one. I just promote myself like any other artist, I don’t overkill. Like now I have sold out shows, but I’ve always had wonderful fans, even when I didn’t do much with my career.

What do you want people to get out of your music, what’s your purpose?

Ah man, my purpose is that I just have a lot of fun, a lot of laughter and make some really good music. I want people to get from my music is that it’s very nonconformist; it’s black, it’s punk, it’s mixed, it’s Caribbean and it’s a lot of things – funny and unapologetic. You know, this sweet little girl, that has the elegance of an aristocrat, but could be on corner with all the biggest G’s. I have so many hats I wear, but don’t stand solely with one. Just simply me.

Photography by Philipp Raheem