SXSW Music Review: Princess Nokia

Breakout rapper reps an entire matriarchy

Destiny Frasqueri is unapologetically angry, fragile, confident. The 25-year-old New York rapper embraces it all and invites everyone to ride the wave with her. Myself and the rest of a squished Clive Bar on Rainey Street Thursday night joined the catharsis, jumping to every rhyme, beat, and prophecy.

Photo by David Brendan Hall

Decked out in Nineties gear – tie-dyed “All That” tee, low-rise jeans, neon orange beanie, and clout goggles – she sprang onto the stage with “Brujas” off 2016 EP 1992. A blend of ripply, infectious beats made to empower, the rap touched off crowd waves of future self-actualization.

“Don’t you fuck with my energy,” spit Nokia.

“Kitana” from the same EP followed, a staunch anthem on being a bad bitch, a message amplified by its pulsating rhythms and urgent claps.

“Mortal Kombat, I’ll see you mañana,” warned the MC walking into a sea of waving arms.

The star performed most hits from last year’s full-length studio debut 1992 Deluxe. Aside from contagious beats and smart lyrics, her appeal to young women remains an ability to be an entire matriarchy all in one. She’s your sister, auntie, mom, and friend, switching roles so flawlessly you don’t notice until you take a minute to catch her words.

After 40 minutes, she encored off with 2016 single “Orange Blossom,” a silky R&B ballad she sang in a honeyed falsetto pacing across the stage and pausing to sing with the crowd.

“Thank you to all these beautiful women in attendance,” she said before walking offstage, my heart in the palm of her hand.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Playback: Does Size Matter at SXSW?
Playback: Does Size Matter at SXSW?
A smaller SXSW Music week still satisfies

Kevin Curtin, March 23, 2018

SXSW Music Review: Keith Urban
Live Shot: Keith Urban
Country superstar’s “Wasted Time”

Doug Freeman, March 17, 2018

More by Isabella Castro-Cota
ACL Live Review: Amber Mark
Live Shot: Amber Mark
Main stage opener preps for headlining status

Oct. 15, 2018

ACL Live Review: IamDDB
Live Shot: IamDDB
Brit MC prompts instant loyalty through strut, charm, and XOX

Oct. 14, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Princess Nokia, SXSW Music 2018, Destiny Frasqueri

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle