You may have known her as rapper Wavy Spice, who released Bitch I’m Posh and featured on Ratking’s record, but now Destiny Frasqueri - the 22-year-old New Yorker behind it all – has dropped that moniker and become Princess Nokia, a cyberpunk hood girl singing over ambient music influenced by Trip Hop and Drum’n’Bass. Quietly spoken and shy with strangers, she’s not the overtly fierce force you expect in person, but her projects tell a different story. As well as releasing her impressive debut Metallic Butterfly, Nokia is working on the feminist Smart Girl Club, her show on Know Wave radio. i-D skipped through Chinatown with her talking queer parties, Game of Thrones and her relationship with Ratking rapper, Wiki.
What’s your radio show called?
It’s called Smart Girl Club. Sometimes I’ll make it more about me and the random things I’m into, but usually I try make it feminist-based.
Can you sum up your feminist ideals?
They spring from wanting the same political, sexual and generally equal rights as men. And not wanting to be demoralised, dehumanised or shamed for being a woman or a woman of colour. A lot of it comes from having to deal with abuse and misogyny in my life and wanting to create a world of resistance that is non-violent, so that I can be stronger.
You just released Metallic Butterfly. Tell us about that record.
Usually I go to the studio a few times a week with my bandmate, Chris (aka OWWWLS) and we work on records. The last seven months was us making the record. He’ll write an instrumental and I’ll write to it in the studio or I’ll have something pre-written.
It’s quite Trip Hop and Drum’n’Bassy. Were you into that music?
Yes, it’s all Trip Hop, Drum’n’Bass, Jungle too. I’ve always liked it, like Björk and Sneaker Pimps, Goldie, Massive Attack. I was always into alternative music as a child, it wasn’t far-fetched in my household. I was always obsessed with British music. Goldie and Björk are literally my relationship goal.
You and Wiki are a bit like a present-day version.
Haha! I live for her. Like when they had the matching Stüssy outfit. My friend recently went to Bjork's house and she was playing my record Dragons in her kitchen!
A friend of mine saw you play the Azucar Papi party recently. How was that?
Yeah, that was a really good show. It’s a brown queer party done by Azucar and these lesbian clothing designers called Marimacho. They threw the party together for Brooklyn Pride. It was the coolest party, the livest show.
You’ve said how you want your music to speak to “banjee girls in Harlem, teen brides in the Middle East, gay boys in East Asia.” How important is it to you to reach all these people?
I think I’m really supported by the queer community and I’ve always been a huge activist for people of colour, women’s rights, the LGBT community.
Is that how you were brought up?
Yes, I was raised very liberally in an awesome household. I took a lot from my experiences as a child from the adults I grew up with. My Mother’s from Harlem and my Dad’s from the Lower East Side, so I had this multi-Manhattan upbringing that was super cool, like the epitome of 90s New York; watching MTV, flying up and down the 6 train, learning about punk in St Marks Place.
You love a cyber world too, don’t you?
I’ve evolved this aesthetic that is very cyber, it’s like a version of my punk identity, I have dirty sneakers, fishnets, bondage clothes, chokers, so I take that - my misfit high school identity and I make it 22nd Century. I like to imagine these alternative girls from the hood in the 22nd Century.
Did you and Wiki meet when making the track for the Ratking record?
It was really wonderful. Patrick and Ratking are the only people I’ve ever done collaborations with. They had this awesome, young aesthetic; they’re both New York City kids who I identified with so much.
What’s happened to Wavy Spice?
I wanted to do different music and start a band. I see myself more as an alternative singer than a rapper. That was my rap persona, this is my band.
Dragons is about the relationship between Daenerys and Khal Drogo. Are you still really into Game of Thrones?
Karl Drago was so hot.
I had a man that looked like him one time.
Where is he now?
He’s in jail, girl!