NYC-born individualist and trailblazer Princess Nokia fuses music styles of diverse diasporas and reaches out through fresh, brassy lyrics to fringe characters and category hybrids across the world: "banjee girls in Harlem, teen brides in the Middle East, gay boys in East Asia. Labels no longer matter."
The Bronx-based artist born Destiny Frasqueri began rapping under the alias Wavy Spice, turning out tracks like "Bitch I'm Posh" and "YAYA," a tribute to her indigenous roots and a colonial damnation. As Destiny, she released Honeysuckle, a topical 2015 mixtape of melted-together disco, blues, funk and soul that called for healing and positivity in the face of declining civil rights and systemic neglect of black and brown communities. As Princess Nokia, Frasqueri is all things at once. "I can project the multi-dimensional aspects of myself," she told Bullet Magazine. "I can venture into any realm of music or character of my choosing without confusion. I’m making worldly music — music that will talk to all kinds of people." In one standout track from her 2016 homage to old-school hip-hop, 1992, she raps: "I'm that Blackorican bruja / Straight out from the Yoruba / And my people come from Africa-diaspora Cuba…Don’t you fuck with my energy!"
Her penchant for serving up high-impact identity politics primed for club play has led to collaborations with post-gender rap provocateur Mykki Blanco and hip hop crew Ratking. Frasqueri is also a co-founder of Smart Girl Club, an urban feminist collective that aims to empower women of all shapes, sizes, colours, sexualities and orientations through workshops, panel discussions, pop-ups and more.
Nokia’s spring 2017 appearance will be supported by poet and musician Farai. Born in Zimbabwe and listening to Miriam Makeba, Brenda Fassie and Oliver Mtukudzi, Farai's move to London as a teen introduced her to new musical influences such as Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus and Howling Wolf. While attending the School of Arts, she additionally developed an infatuation with the literary works of the Beat Generation and artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring and fashion worlds strong-womxn including Naomi Campbell, Rei Kawakubo and Phoebe Philo.
In late 2015 Farai delivered one of the standout tracks on NON Worldwide Compilation, Vol. 1, the first release by visionary African diaspora collective NON Worldwide. "The Sinner" was, for a long time, the only track also featured on her SoundCloud page, until she announced her debut EP with a second track, "Lion Warrior“, for which Pitchfork wrote: "Farai’s new sound promises a rethinking of new wave and post-punk."
The evening will be rounded out by Staycore member and Bala Club regular Mechatok, named one of FACT Mag’s top ten producers to watch in 2016. In his DJ sets, Mechatok juggles club music, melodic pieces and rap to convey feelings from vulnerability to bliss.