Cultura Dura is a Remezcla and Mike’s HARDER content and event series highlighting emerging Latin urban culture. We’ll be exploring scenes that haven’t really gotten any coverage anywhere else – from block parties and street art to underground sports and raw, young artists making movements pa’ la calle.
Now, I’m not sure if there will be a time in the future when we’ll be able to access a persons thoughts and emotions the same way we log on to the internet–and frankly, I’m not sure if there are many of us who would want that to happen. Destiny Frasqueri, for her part, is not waiting for that technology to be available so that people can take a walk through her dreams, aspirations, and interests. She makes music as if she was constructing a sensorial room of her personality, a building full of what what makes her tick and what she hopes to communicate. Her music and lyrics are a way for people to get to know her as if she was an open book or an unattended computer with Facebook logged on.
If her musical world is a representation of her self, then she ‘s an eclectic and diverse person that’s orderly in a chaotic sense. Her stuff doesn’t settle into a single corner or strain of music. There’s references to Nineties rocktronica, vocal arabesques, grungy trip-hop, and anthems for the urban diva. If there’s one thing that ties everything together, it’s an underlying hip-hop influence. From there, your guess of what she will do next is as good as ours.
Destiny grew in Harlem, where at age 16 she began hosting parties and met many like-minded artists. Soon she began to pour her obsessions into music. At age 18 she released her first single “Destiny” as Wavy Spice. With this nom de plume, she released “Bitch I’m Posh,” a highly quotable song that became a hit in many circles and fueled her online popularity on Tumblr, breaking her in many countries around the world.
Her next single “YAYA” was much more ambitious. It showed her true range, artistic aspirations, and an amazing execution. In her own words, “YAYA” is a song about her Taino ancestry and features music that reflects that. It also brought her to even greater attention, which she used to speak out about LGBT rights, and in turn, got her cosigned by artists like Mykki Blanco and Le1f. Further singles like “Vicki Gotti” and “Versace Hottie” followed with equally positive responses.
Then came the transformation. Wavy became Princess Nokia, a guise that has helped her further indulge in her individualism. For example, under her new stage name she penned “Dragons” about the relationship between Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo from TV’s Game Of Thrones. The lovelorn video features Frasqueri and her boyfriend among arcade games and clips of anime, female surfers, and the all-woman nu metal band Kittie. Metallic Butterfly, the album “Dragons” is featured on, covers more sonic land than most band’s careers; produced by OWWWLS, it blends gruff rapping, sweet singing, Bollywood instrumentals, electronic beats, and Boricua pride refrains. Nokia doesn’t lose focus as everything is anchored by hip-hop and R&B.
Central to all of Destiny’s work is a passion for individualism, celebrating what makes her unique. Unlike what many might think, this makes her more inclusive as exposing more sides of her personality has allowed many different types of people relate to her music, whether superficially or on a deeper level.
Whatever the future might hold for Destiny and Princess Nokia remains to be seen and heard– and that’s the most exciting part of following along with an artist like this. With such a fascinating personality to quote from, the slow reveal over time to the public will make for a thrilling stroll through her brain cells.
Press play to her latest track that dropped earlier today, “Anomaly,” which she describes as a “creepy lullaby.”