Watch: Princess Nokia – “Look Up Kid”

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Princess Nokia’s excellent/confusing new mixtape A Girl Cried Red has just gotten a little stranger.

While it looked like we had a bit of a roll running with the one-two punch of “Your Eyes Are Bleeding” and “For The Night,” in which the videos were telling a sequential story arc and suggested that we were being led somewhere (though exactly where remained to be confirmed), the next track “Look Up Kid” completely forgets that Frasqueri last left us looking out at the snow and instead drops her into… err… a garage band rehearsal space.

A mate of mine used to swear blind that Eddie Vedder was hands down the best lip-sync singer of all time, citing the “Jeremy” video as proof. Even if this is true, that fact doesn’t make the music Vedder was pretending to sing any less shit though.

The inverse is true here.

At least to our ears, Princess Nokia is new to this “real instruments” caper and isn’t convincing anyone otherwise here with the flagrant disregard pretending that she’s actually using that microphone to sing into, but the tune stacks up. Here we have an actual band, ostensibly playing actual music, and it’s relatable because we’ve all been in garages where the guitarist is loving his moves as much as this dude, and we’ve all seen bands where the drummer is a dorky ring in with a neck beard.

“Look Up Kid” is the first of the singles from A Girl Cried Red to completely break from the Princess Nokia of old — there isn’t a drum machine or sample in sight here — so the abandonment of the story arc that was being set up with the first two singles could be deliberate or perhaps simply symptomatic of the half-reach of A Girl Cried Red itself.

I’d still listen to this over Pearl Jam any day though.

Princess Nokia tour:

05.25.18 – Barcelona, Spain – Razzmatazz
05.26.18 – Madrid, Spain – Tomasvistas Festival
05.27.18 – A Coruna, Spain – Inn Club
05.31.18 – Athens, Greece – Piraeus 117 Academy
06.01.18 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Distortion Festival
06.02.18 – London, UK – Field Day Festival
06.05.18 – Mexico City, Mexico – Foro Indie Rocks
06.08.18 – Chicago, IL – House of Vans
06.16.18 – Oakland, CA – Feels (Art & Music Exhibition)
06.29.18 – Detroit, MI – Museum of Contemporary Art
07.07.18 – Turku, Finland – Ruisrock
07.08.18 – Zamardi, Hungary – Balaton Sound Festival
07.13.18 – Dublin, Ireland – Longitude Festival
07.14.18 – Dour, Belguim – Dour Festival
07.15.18 – Berlin, Germany – MELT Festival
07.19.18 – Benicassim, Spain – Benicassim Festival
07.20.18 – Lisbon, Portugal – Super Bock Festival
07.21.18 – Seyðisfjörður, Iceland – LungA Art Festival
08.18.18 – Hamburg, Germany – Dockville Festival
08.20.18 – London, UK – O2 Forum
08.21.18 – Leeds, UK – Belgrave Music Hall
09.29.18 – Long Beach, CA – Music Tastes Good Festival

♫ Listen: Princess Nokia – “For The Night”

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Upon first listen of the new Princess Nokia cloud-emo mixtape A Girl Cried Red (released in April on Friday the 13th), I felt similar to what was said in our TMT Review written by [hater-]Hydroyoga. However, my wife always answers Princess Nokia’s calls in the most positive ways, and felt like this release was very refreshing, especially because she (1) loves all that Mineral, American Football, Cap’t Jazz vibes, and (2) hates cloud rap but has the patience to listen to it when I PUBG. Mostly, for me, it’s Princess Nokia’s embodiment of multiple characterizations: from nu-RnB to old-school hip-hop head to moody-alt popstar. For example:

Old P got the new-new tip on a good-good pNoki video, and it just so happens to be the most “banging” track on the album, “For The Night.” Similar to the track’s calming vogue-anthem melodies, I enjoy listening to it while riding around Chinatown around 2 or 3 AM on my bike witnessing the nearly empty streets that had previously been flooded by the feet of millions. And if I’m not doing that and listening to “For The Night,” the track helps me dream of rolling round in the wee-hours. The video, on the other hand, takes place inside watching Princess Nokia get super “comfortable” after — what I can assume — was an amazing show that I had missed.

Snoop the video “For The Night” and find A Girl Cried Red out now on digital, cassette, and LP.

♫ Listen: Princess Nokia – “For The Night”

This post was originally published on this site

Upon first listen of the new Princess Nokia cloud-emo mixtape A Girl Cried Red (released in April on Friday the 13th), I felt similar to what was said in our TMT Review written by [hater-]Hydroyoga. However, my wife always answers Princess Nokia’s calls in the most positive ways, and felt like this release was very refreshing, especially because she (1) loves all that Mineral, American Football, Cap’t Jazz vibes, and (2) hates cloud rap but has the patience to listen to it when I PUBG. Mostly, for me, it’s Princess Nokia’s embodiment of multiple characterizations: from nu-RnB to old-school hip-hop head to moody-alt popstar. For example:

Old P got the new-new tip on a good-good pNoki video, and it just so happens to be the most “banging” track on the album, “For The Night.” Similar to the track’s calming vogue-anthem melodies, I enjoy listening to it while riding around Chinatown around 2 or 3 AM on my bike witnessing the nearly empty streets that had previously been flooded by the feet of millions. And if I’m not doing that and listening to “For The Night,” the track helps me dream of rolling round in the wee-hours. The video, on the other hand, takes place inside watching Princess Nokia get super “comfortable” after — what I can assume — was an amazing show that I had missed.

Snoop the video “For The Night” and find A Girl Cried Red out now on digital, cassette, and LP.

Princess Nokia – “For The Night” Video

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The tough-as-hell New York rapper Princess Nokia — a woman who once went viral for throwing hot soup at a probably-drunk racist on the subway — is continuing to get more and more publicly vulnerable. Last week, she released her strange and surprising new emo-influenced A Girl Cried Red, a mixtape that features … More »

Music Review: Princess Nokia – A Girl Called Red

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Princess Nokia

A Girl Called Red

[Rough Trade; 2018]

Rating: 2/5

It feels like a play. Not even: a play within a play. A simulacrum that is a yearning, a longing, a stretching, a reaching, a detour from her old-school hip-hop lean that drives straight into the emo of the 1990s and early 2000s, into a childhood now magically overcome and returned to her. All those tears shed on black shirts while pure evil moved somewhere underneath the visible surface of the world. Tense and quivering, outwardly lit, with a thick smell of parking lots and the sound of being dropped out of life, dreaming with a withoutness that she has learned to be with. A Girl Cried Red replaces Nokia’s NYC authenticity for her inauthentic take on a genre that struggles to maintain itself. I appreciate that gesture — it’s important to embrace what’s authentically ours while also enfolding our inauthentic parts into ourselves: all those dream scenarios that we live and that live among us, that point us toward an elsewhere that could be ours.

Being emo is a little bit about being paranoid that you might not be emo at all. That your identity is never totally yours. That quarreling with yourself into becoming someone else is almost impossible. That Princess Nokia isn’t the only Boricua emo out there. That a radical shift in the definition of the genre is happening, in real time, thanks in part to an unexpected battalion of warriors: SoundCloud rappers. A fusion between emo and trap — rock and rap’s demented little siblings — has been going on for a while now. Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Tracy, Lil Peep (R.I.P.), and all of those other sadboys know that to live is to be exposed as living under the gaze of the Other, that to experience life is to experience the illusion of identity, dignity, and morality. This fusion, by means of erasure, removal, subtraction, and abstraction, bears a chance to discover a hidden path, to a new musical realism: that not rapping about luxury cars could lead to rapping about trailer homes, and that not rapping about designer clothes could lead to rapping about your feelings, and that your feelings, though sometimes faraway and hushed, build toward a sort of mysticism, liberating you as much as they obfuscate.

Behind all of this, the shadow of the opioid crisis in America looms large. Because it is not enough to live; one must also demonstrate that one lives, that one performs being alive, that one can perform one’s emotions. An accent that recalls skyscrapers and open fire hydrants on the streets in the summer has turned into a flat cornfield. The sun hits weakly, like a sign of banished possibility, like an acknowledgement of otherness. The light gleams an instant, the Visa card chip inserted, a knife at a wrist with the potential for bleeding, and suddenly you’re in a metaphor for the bodily: that it might mimic or have a direct relationship with the ills and woes of the poetry of mere existence. Lo, it isn’t enough. Like a Big Bang emerging at the end of the universe to begin the next, a turbid volatility rife during adolescence — where experience becomes impossible without negativity — materializes. The Person that Never Appears appears. You. A supposed paradise. Paradise being a place of rest, beyond wealth and conspiracy theory. Where your eyes close and you access the holism of A Girl Cried Red.

Column: Favorite Rap Mixtapes of April 2018

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With a cascade of releases spewing from the likes of DatPiff, LiveMixtapes, Bandcamp, and SoundCloud, it can be difficult to keep up with the overbearing yet increasingly vital mixtape game. In this column, we aim to immerse ourselves in this hyper-prolific world and share our favorite releases each month. The focus will primarily be on rap mixtapes — loosely defined here as free (or sometimes free-to-stream) digital releases — but we’ll keep things loose enough to branch out if/when we feel it necessary. (Check out last month’s installment here.)

It’s official: rap is high art now. Eight out of ten classically trained musicians agree. I know, finally, right? Imagine being that one violinist who still doesn’t get it. Is that an ignorant-bliss thing? And wouldn’t we all feel better if there weren’t a part of me that kept saying, “Cool, yeah, but then what, ‘Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa’ should have all the Pulitzers, shouldn’t it?” Whatever, that is, Damn. Pulitzer has Pulitzers. Tiny Mix Tapes has Favorite Mixtapes. Young M.A. has both a mixtape and an all-female porn out this month. Everybody wins. Be warned, though; if Western politics have anything to say about token corrective status achievements and their populist fascist fallout, the next Pulitzer Prize for music will go to Taylor Swift Kid Rock. This has been a Public Service Announcement. Now scoot over and pass the sleep apnea medicine, Minnesota.


Doja Cat – Amala

[STREAM]

I saw Doja Cat’s debut performance at that weird Arcosanti festival in spring 2015, at which point she had one song, “So High,” to her name. I registered the performance, but didn’t expect to see her again. Enter Amala. While the stylistic pivot from the “So High” era is obvious, it’s more than welcome; where the former was utterly indistinguishable from any of a thousand Coachellan audio hallucinations, Amala is noteworthy for the mere fact that it’s immediately identifiable among a sea of vaguely psychedelic R&B albums populating the post-SZA world. The album is a survey of a sonic landscape that might be categorized as “Californian;” thoroughly chilled-out save for the occasional excursion into hard-edged Kehlani territory, and striking the requisite balance between slow jam production and beats made either by the Soulection crew or in their wake. It is, above all, varied. Say what you might about established genres’ capacity for yielding surprises; Amala is riddled with them.


BLVC SVND – LIL GRAIN SEASON

[STREAM]

Around the turn of the millennium, people used the tools of rock to make rap; now, people are starting to use the tools of rap to make rock. I’m hesitant to associate BLVC SVND with the oeuvre of, say, KoRn or Coal Chamber or something. And yet, at least on an aesthetic level, I can’t help but think that nü-/rap metal might have sowed the seeds of success for artists like him, Lil Peep (RIP), $UICIDEBOY$, Lil Uzi Vert, et al. Indeed, several songs on LIL GRAIN SEASON hit with the force of a death metal concert (“LEGIT,” “HAMMER TIME”), while others contain considerably less frenetic rage (“ROLL IT UHHH,” “BABE RUTH”). While I currently prefer the latter, I might soon come around more fully to the former, and maybe you will too.


WiFi OG – Web of Lies

[STREAM · DOWNLOAD]

A jack of all trades, WiFi OG a.k.a. DJ Prince has worked on music videos for the likes of Conway (whose Blakk Tape dropped to acclaim this month); as DJ for Skyzoo (whose In Celebration Of Us is my #1 album of 2018 so far); as co-host of semi-weekly podcasts and vinyl record appreciation nights in NYC; and as MC, producer, and mixer on a number of solo and collaborative projects issued via his Mobile Kitchen collective. The latest, Web of Lies, has been in the works since at least 2015. That it retains the most essential raw elements of its OG Jamaican-toasting flavors despite three years of future-looking fusion and refinement is testament to WiFi’s maestro-minded musicality and dab-dread discipline. Web of Lies is a Work of Art, in the truest sense of both words.


PeeWee Longway – Spaghetti Factory

[STREAM · DOWNLOAD]

Peewee Longway has been my favorite rapper for a while now, and you don’t have to look too far beyond the Spaghetti Factory cover art to see why. Over the past five or so years, he’s released a stream of mixtapes and features that have largely tracked with the ever-shifting Atlanta rap scene, never quite crossing over but also never sounding for a moment like the product of anyone but Longway. In an era in which personality seems like over half the battle, it’s remarkable that the PeeWee Longway experience — his reliably bonkers videos, knack for nicknames, and latent ability to out-rap anybody — hasn’t caught on in any evident fashion. Alas, those who know, know; Longway’s tapes do respectable numbers, and the fanbase that he does have doesn’t seem to be in any danger. Spaghetti Factory exists for those who need it, serving (much like Longway’s career as a whole) as a permanent, ever-replenishing resource for those who still can’t believe the year Atlanta had in 2014.


Princess Nokia – A Girl Cried Red

[STREAM · DOWNLOAD]

A Girl Cried Red, the follow-up to last year’s much-beloved 1992, is a stylistic left turn, veering hard into the substantial lane of emo-rap hybridity that’s been blossoming with disarming grace as of late through the works of various “teen” artists. While others have mined the depths of autotune meloncholia or narrowly toed the line of mainstream hip-hop, Princess Nokia’s gleeful, singsong self-laceration on A Girl Cried Red imparts a decidedly weirder affective timbre. Nokia is never just operating on one level, and there is work being done herein equivalent to the decolonization of the sadboy mentality. And yet, that doesn’t prevent this tape from being straightforwardly cathartic: a welcome departure from an already eclectic artist.


KA5SH – Big Pink Loser

[STREAM · DOWNLOAD]

Big Pink Loser is a hell of an elevator pitch. In 19 minutes, KA5SH rips through countless styles and flows. Right when you think he’s about to make a point, he changes topics. You’ll want to stop him and try to get ahold of what you’re hearing, but you’re so intrigued you let him go, and go, and go. He talks about his friends — Young Skrrt, Glitter Princess, and Swsh — like you’ve known them for years. He uses self-deprecating humor even though you’ve only just met. The elevator keeps going up, eventually hitting your floor, but you stay put. You’re in it now. What’s next? Tell me more. When he finishes, you look down at your watch and realize the budget meeting you were supposed to attend is over. So, what the hell: “Can you tell me that one more time?”


Papo Johnson – Hollywood Po

[STREAM]

My personal favorite emcee from the AF1MG/2oo4 crew, Papo Johnson released Hollywood Po as something of a one-off, a “West Coast” tape departing from the group’s usual post-Dipset New Jersey club sound. The subject matter’s still there — references to basketball and pop culture more broadly abound — but the beats are a revelation, in-house producers Cyber Tek and Subjxct2oo4 fully embracing breezy samples and G-funk whistles to completely reframe Johnson’s usually grimy Tri-State flows as soundtracks for cruising. The title track is the highlight by far, all parties stepping into uncharted territory to deliver the song of any and every summer between 1992 and 2018.


Maxo – Smile EP

[STREAM · DOWNLOAD]

One of the few legitimate arguments I ever got into on Facebook was over the cult of positivity. (The other I can remember off the top was about Yeezus and might have helped bring this column into existence.) I’d posted a video in which a cancer survivor pointed out something that seems to elude many in my generation: that there are times when it’s healthier to be negative than positive, that some occasions call for abandoning any sense of hope or optimism and simply wallowing in despair, and that this is completely fine. One of the things I enjoy most about Maxo’s Smile EP is that, I think, the titular expression isn’t necessarily or primarily one of happiness here. It is equally a function of experiencing, appreciating, familiarizing, and knowing. You might’ve heard Maxo last year on the song “8 24” off Medslaus’s Poorboy. His was pretty obviously a standout contribution, and on an emotionally layered tiramisu like that album, making a memorable impression is, although critical, no cakewalk. They say it takes more effort to frown, but there are so many different kinds of smiles, and only some belong to happy faces. This one’s deeper.

Stream Princess Nokia’s “Emo Mixtape” A Girl Cried Red & Watch Her “Your Eyes Are Bleeding” Video

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New York rapper own Destiny Frasqueri, better known as Princess Nokia, has been making waves in the local scene for a few years now. In 2016, she broke out in a big way with her 1992 mixtape, and her star continued to rise last year with 1992 Deluxe, an expanded re-release that also served as … More »

Princess Nokia to drop new mixtape, A Girl Cried Red, THIS FRIDAY via Rough Trade

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Careful with yer eyeliner, my dear emotional readers. Princess Nokia — a “New York rapper” — has just announced the release date for her “highly anticipated” new mixtape on The Instagram.

That mixtape’s name? A Girl Cried Red.

That same mixtape’s alluded-to release date? An April Friday Called 13. (a.k.a. spooky-ass Friday the 13th — a.k.a. normal-ass April 13 — a.k.a. THIS ACTUAL damn FRIDAY!)

The self-described “emo mixtape” follows last year’s ALSO-critically-acclaimed (but less “emo” and more “melodic pop punk,” in my expert opinion) 1992 Deluxe.

In pretty super-dooper-closely-related news: look for her live at Coachella and all-up-on the United States and Europe this spring and summer. But don’t take my word for it. Peep those dates down below. Those numbers and letters DON’T LIE.

Finally, here’s a neat video from 1992 Deluxe to keep you from forgetting who Princess Nokia is between now and Friday… (And as a nice bonus, if you watch the whole thing…I promise to embed that entire Instagram post for you down below, too…Emo-kid’s honor.)

Princes Nokia tour (LTE roaming changes may apply):

04.12.18 – Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory
04.15.18 – Indio, CA – Coachella Festival
04.20.18 – San Francisco, CA – 1015 Folsom
04.22.18 – Indio, CA – Coachella Festival
04.29.18 – Chicago, IL – The Metro
05.05.18 – Brooklyn, NY – Elsewhere
05.06.18 – Brooklyn, NY – Elsewhere
05.12.18 – Miami, FL – Rolling Loud Festival
05.25.18 – Barcelona, Spain – Venue TBA
05.26.18 – Madrid, Spain – Tomavistas Festival
05.27.18 – A Coruna, Spain – Inn Club
05.31.18 – Athens, Greece – Piraeus 117 Academy
06.01.18 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Distortion Festival
06.02.18 – London, UK – Field Day Festival
07.06.18 – Zamárdi, Hungary – Balaton Sound Festival
07.07.18 – Turku, Finland – Ruisrock
07.13.18 – Dublin, Ireland – Longitude Festival
07.14.18 – Dour, Belguim – Dour Festival
07.15.18 – Berlin, Germany – MELT Festival
07.19.18 – Benicassim, Spain – Benicassim Festival
07.20.18 – LisbonPortugal – Super Bock
07.21.18 – Seyðisfjörður, Iceland – LungA Art Festival
08.18.18 – Hamburg, Germany – Dockville Festival

The 40 Best Rap Albums Of 2017

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Streaming changed things. 2017 was the year that rap once again reaffirmed its stranglehold on the collective imagination of America’s youth. Like the moment when Billboard first started using Soundscan and inadvertently proved the massive popularity of N.W.A, the streaming services of the world showed just how powerful this music remains. Rap dominated streaming charts. More »

Utrecht’s Le Guess Who? Isn’t Like Any Festival You’ll See In The USA

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These days, whenever all the big-name American festivals start to announce their lineups for the year, there’s inevitably a certain, noticeable same-ness. It’s a consequence of those festivals becoming more popular than at their inception, with festival-going becoming an overall more mainstream activity in America; it’s a consequence of the music industry’s contractions and … More »