Last Thursday Princess Nokia, up and coming rapper from New York City, visited Warehouse Live as part of the Women’s Unity Houston art showcase. The showcase included booths for local artists, selling jewelry, candles, art prints, and more, as well as various local female artists performing live prior to Princess Nokia’s performance. The show was focusing on supporting local business and artists, as well as celebrating art by women of color. Princess Nokia was invited to headline the event by the organization putting on the showcase, and of course, she was a perfect fit for the event. She is well known in her community and throughout her fan base for her support of intersectional feminism and female artists.
The rapper has three albums out on Soundcloud, and is working on releasing a deluxe version of her latest album 1992 in early September. Her album 1992 has gained significant recognition since it was released about a year ago, and her production for her music videos “Brujas” and “Kitana” have also captured audiences’ attention for her bold and unique style. Her sound and style blend old school NYC vibes with a youthful and feminist energy, making her appeal especially to younger female audiences who want rap music without the misogyny. Her music celebrates women, especially women of color, as she includes lyrics and visual images in her videos about her Native, African, and Puerto Rican roots. She gracefully blends her own culture and tribal sound with modern rap, adding a twist of her own that has been unmatched. She is easily the most versatile artist I’ve encountered, as she often talks about her past in the punk and rave scenes, as well as including sounds from her Hispanic and tribal roots, and it absolutely makes her stand out from other artists.
When Nokia entered the stage, her fans went crazy as she started off with her hits “Tomboy” and “Brujas,” her fans singing along with high energy. She commented on how excited she was to be playing a smaller, more intimate show after doing a sold out tour through Europe over the past year. She held hands with fans and smiled while rapping, and took a moment to declare the space a safe space for women and girls, telling all the girls to come to the front. The energy was incredible, and the strong mutual love between her and her fans was very clear. Later in the show she performed her newest single “G.O.A.T,” perfectly nailing every word in an intense flow. She even gave the audience a sneak preview at some new songs that will be on 1992 Deluxe, but she did it with no beat or music, just rapping verses she has been writing.
Personally, I’ve been a fan of Nokia for years, but hearing her rap live even blew me away. Her flow was fantastic and fans went crazy for her. After rapping, she sang a song without music too, and she belted the notes just as perfectly as she could rap, even leaving some fans teary-eyed. Cutting the music and just hearing her voice made the show very different from your typical concert, it definitely brought a more intimate and personal connection, and elevated the energy of the room to something I hadn’t felt before at a live show. It also displayed her versatility and talent extremely well, as her range and raw voice was phenomenal. Near the end of the show, she sang “Young Girls” from her album Metallic Butterfly, and during the song she pulled a fan onstage, a girl about 10 years old, and sang as she held her hand and hugged her at the end. The emotions and the connection, combined with lyrics like “young girls, take of all the earth,” made it incredibly fitting and beautiful. Her absolute love and support for girls was genuine and wholesome. She made her audience feel like they were all important and valued, and her connection with them, as well as the uplifting energy she carried, was very beautiful. She is an artist who will continue to gain popularity and set trends, and is definitely a quality artist worth seeing live.
Check out some of the videos from the show below:
Parnia is a graduate student studying Political Science. Her hobbies include going to concerts and festivals, practicing yoga, and binge-watching Netflix shows. Stay in touch on Instagram @parniarazi