talking independence with princess nokia
The 24-year-old New Yorker opened up about record deals, creative freedom and new sounds, and proved herself once again to be an artist like no other.
If there's one thing that matters to Destiny Frasqueri - the part goth, part riot grrrl behind cyber princess Princess Nokia - it's independence. From her impressive debut Metallic Butterfly to her urban feminist collective Smart Girl Club and her work as Wavy Spice - the Mykki Blanco championed rapper who released Bitch I'm Posh back in 2013 - the 24-year-old New Yorker has never wasted her time "trying to be famous or have a record deal". In fact she's actively avoided it.
"I've turned down maybe five record deals," she reveals in a recent series of interviews for Snobette. "They were never sufficient for me" For the Frasqueri, "the clear capitalisation of a young internet artist" meant giving up the freedom that had made her unique sound so desirable in the first place; something that the former Ratking collaborator was wholly unprepared to do.
"I'm not a woman looking to be taken advantage of" she describes. "If you sign your clause over, that's paperwork where you're expected to make an album and you're expected to make it sell. And I wouldn't have been able to do that. That's why I stayed independent and that's why I'll always stay independent. I've garnered my career and my opportunities and my accolades based on me, just solely me."
In fact, 2016 seems to be the year that "solely me" rings the truest for Frasqueri, the video for latest single Tomboy showcasing the most stripped back version of the artist to date: "It's me as Destiny in New York, growing up in the city, being a skater, being a comic book head, being a rapper, being this androgynous kid," she says of the clip. "A lot of the press I used to do, I didn't like it. Because I was a young girl and didn't understand. I thought that I had to make myself pretty or be more eccentric for music to be cooler. And it wasn't the case."
She continues: "Tomboy was just about who I am. I'm a rapper, I'm a woman, I'm a G. I'm a hella-G. Crazy G. I'm very nothing laissez-faire, nothing bother me. I can make everything work for me. I can make having little titties and a big ass belly sexy. And that can be the biggest aphrodisiac for men. And I like things like that. When I think of concepts of myself or how I relate that to my art or to music, it's being the ugliest person and the coolest person at the same time. I like the duality of making something beautiful that isn't supposed to be." If Tomboy is anything to go off, it looks like Destiny Frasqueri's latest and best reinvention is the one that was there all along.
Text Matthew Whitehouse