Brazen and whimsical would be the words used to describe Princess Nokia’s 1992 deluxe album. In this autobiographic album Princes Nokia, whose real name is Destiny, reveals her pitfalls and achievements within the 16 tracks of this autobiographical album. Although her delivery is brash and vulgar, you soon learn to love her fearlessness.
The first half of the album is high energy, with her manner loud and furious. ‘Bart Simpson’ opens the album where she describes her self-sabotaging behaviour as a teen and touches on her difficult experience whilst in foster care. She describes herself as ‘Bart Simpson with the shits’, wotless and without direction with a strong propensity to lie as a method of self-defence. However, the proceeding tracks, ‘Tomboy’ and ‘Kitana’, move from self-loathing to unabashed and arrogant self-love. In ‘Tomboy’ she states her immense sex-appeal despite not having the stereotypical features (‘small titties and a fat belly’), and in ‘Kitana’ she boasts about her incomparable hard work. Her audacious confidence adds to her charisma.
‘Brujas’, which achieved international success as a single, where she talks about her ancestry. Bruja translates as ‘witch’ in Spanish and is a figure that demands respect due to their supernatural powers. Bruja serves as an identity Destiny carries to yield that same response but also a continuation of her ancestry, as she states her grandmother was indeed a ‘bruja’. ‘Mine’ is a favourite as it opens up with presumably a white women asking about the authenticity of the hair, of assumedly, a black woman. Princess Nokia addresses the continuous prying that black women face about their hair choices with the simple answer ‘Its mine/ I bought it’.
The tracks of the latter tracks of the album are very much inspired by 80’s/90’s East Coast rap with some jazz undertones, especially on the track ‘Saggy Denim’. On ‘Receipts’ Destiny plainly states her net worth is something to be reckoned with and for that reason, she is solely the “headliner” especially when it comes comparison to her male peers. Destiny seems to be pointing at the bigger issue of inequality between male and female emcees.
The ultimate track of the album is ‘Chinese Slippers’ where she makes reference to the notorious DJ Otzi’s ‘The Burger Dance’. This is another favourite on the album, as her delivery isn’t as forced or overly animated as previous songs which makes for easier listening.
Overall, 1992 provided to some great tracks as production was of good quality throughout. Her statements of her sex appeal, earning potential and repetition of her accolades does run dry after a while and her many tracks about New York begin to feel alien to those who aren’t native to the city that never sleeps. Furthermore, it has the overall effect as if she still has something to prove to others and to herself despite her lyrics claiming otherwise, which can make you question the range of her skill. The album was good but the body of work she puts out next will really be the deciding factor of whether she actually has the sauce or not.By Adaobi Nezianya