Trying to get a handle on Princess Nokia’s music is tricky. Maybe that’s the way she wants it. She is a master of reinvention, begininng her career as sort of an R&B singer named Wavy Spice, before finally settling into an uneasy detente with rap as Princess Nokia (a name she takes from the brand of cheap “Obama-phone” she was eligible for as a low-income earner). Even to try to define her rap style is an exercise in futility, though.
She is a self-described “hoodrat,” “bruja,” and intersectional feminist who relates to Marvel Comics (because they have more characters who look like her), and tomboy who likes baggy denim as much girly dresses. Her eight-song full length from last year, 1992, is her attempt to service all of those identities, and fuse them into a hodgepodge musical style that is all her own. In that it largely succeeded.
The deluxe re-release of 1992 tries to add extra flavors to the original’s musical melange by adding eight new tracks, and though the increase in output is a net gain, the results are somewhat mixed, calling to mind the old adage: “If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.”