Princess Nokia - 1992 Deluxe
Princess Nokia is one of those rappers who you hear a whole hell of a lot about even though their isn't that much music coming from them. Recently she was caught in a YouTube video taking down a racist on the New York subway and throwing soup on him. She has a lot to say on social media and through her internet radio show Smart Girl Club but not a ton of music. 1992 Deluxe began as a mixtape last year but with it's success came a deal with Rough Trade an expanded album. On "Tomboy" she embraces her flaws saying " my little titties and my fat belly" over and over while laying out her case for why she's a tomboy. 1992 Deluxe is heavy with references usually from the early nineties and New York making the album a really specific piece of work. It has that Odd Future weirdness to it, but not quite as distinct as what Tyler the Creator does though it seems like that is what she is going for. You can understand her stance as being "not that kind of girl" but it feels so forced on this record. Every song features some kind of statement about How different she is, or how much more woke she is than the rest of the world. "Mine" feels like the angriest Huffington Post article you've ever read about African American hair and all the things you should not do. She does a whole hell of a lot of preaching whether it's telling you how much more she knows about every subject than you. It is a bit infuriating because all her conclusions are right in line with the standard Social Justice Warrior, she isn't reaching these conclusions on her own shes just parroting them, not an ideal position for a musician.
The beats on this record are also totally phoned in. I don't know if Garage Band has a "New York Hip Hop in the 90s" set of beats but this might be exactly how they would sound. This music had a time and place, and when done at a really high level can be great, but recently albums featuring this style have landed with a thud. When hip hop moved South that old school sound started collecting more and more dust. The new Wu-Tang didn't have the same punch, Camron's record was barely basic and this idea that the early nineties are the gold standard for hip hop just doesn't hold water anymore. "ABC's of New York" is the biggest offender in this sense, just a long song telling us how great New York is but never really proving it. This is not Princess Nokia's first iteration either, back in 2012 she was calling herself "Wavy Spice" and and siding more towards the Rap-Pop side of things. She's still young and has growing up to do, because on this record it sounds as preachy as an old man but coming from a Brat-Pop's mouth. You just know what She's going to say, the stances she is going to take and the beats she is going to use so there are just no surprises anywhere on the album. With rappers like Cardi B and Young M.A. coming out of NEw York with some thunder, Princess Nokia is going to have to do a lot more to breakthrough. This record just doesn't do it.
4.1 out of 10