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Princess Nokia – 1992 DELUXE Album Review

Princess Nokia – 1992 Deluxe

Released: 8 September 2017

Princess Nokia showcases promising song-crafting ability on 1992 Deluxe. Songs like “Kitana”, “Brujas”, “Mine” (should be titled Bundles!), and “Saggy Denim” are examples of what Nokia offers as a rap artist – introspect into her persona, humor, hype and bouncy moods, and unforgiving individualism; there is a place in Hip-Hop for Princess Nokia.

However, there are also moments on this album that sound amateurish and often times you wish there had been an earful A&R or producer to clean up sections of songs or parts of the album structurally.

Critical breakdown

      1992 Deluxe plays as if there was a lot of thought put into the album’s pacing and structure – listeners can observe the album’s hype, steady start and the pacing and sequencing between similar feeling/vibe tracks and tracks alike in BPM such as the stretch from track #12 G.O.A.T to the album’s outro. Nokia’s team deserves a lot of credit for this. I love how the album begins with Bart Simpson, then TomboyKitana, and Brujas. This is a very strong, attention-grabbing opening sequence.

With that being said, I do have gripes with some of these songs despite my love for the well-thought out track sequencing. There are a couple times – not many, but a few – on this album that the rapping and vocals sound amateurish. “Tomboy” is a good example of this. The hook is extremely basic and the beat generic – despite how good of a song it is, as a follow-up to the album’s intro it ruined my initial listening experience. My problem with “Tomboy” is mostly the hook – and it’s the same problem I have with track #15 “Different”; the hooks are so incredibly elementarily repetitive that it makes you question the artist’s credentials. I hadn’t listened to a full Nokia project prior to this, so my initial impression was that this is someone rapping for the first time. Aside from the hook on “Tomboy”, I love the “lil titties” motifit enhances her verses it rounds the song out, adding a bit of songwriting creativity while connecting back to the theme of growing up a “tomboy”. The structuring of the “lil titties” placement and the bridge makeup for the song’s bland chorus.

The first half of 1992 Deluxe is especially enjoyable. I really like “Goth Kid” because Nokia reaches deep inside herself and comes out with some pretty profound imagery. Nokia also does this on Brujas – two of my favorite songs on the album.

I’m goth as fuck even when I’m not in Black/

Gothic is the pain you feel and not the clothes that’s on your back/

Princess Nokia “Goth Kid

Wiki’s role on “1992 Deluxe”

Nokia manages to carry this entire album with just 1 feature – fellow Ratking affiliate Wiki on “Saggy Denim”. However, my ear tells me that Wiki had a hand in “Green Line” tooI’ve been a fan of Wiki since 2012 when he dropped the Wikispeaks video, so I’m pretty well-versed with his flow and cadence. “Green Line” sounds like a Wiki song. From the cadence to the bars to certain vocal inflections, to the content and vocabulary it sounds like Wiki wrote this song. Not only am I guessing that he helped pen the song, but the flow is also his and the production comes from one of his guys. I haven’t checked out 1992 Deluxe’s credits, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong!

del

   “‘Green Line’ sounds like Wiki’s song – from the flow cadence, to the vocabulary – it sounds like Wiki wrote this song”

     1992 Deluxe kind’ve loses its luster and direction after track 10-11. Songs like “Different” and “Flava” are redundant and forgettable. Parts of “Excellent” strike me as a something someone who just learned how to write songs would write; I mean, I like the airy, spacey flow she utilizes, but overall, parts of this song sounds like a something you’d come up candidly for fun. Perhaps this is a talent?

Pros:

I love how Nokia utilizes different deliveries and vocal capacities. For example, on “Goth Kid” she’s using a deep baritone flow while on “Kitana” she’s high-pitched and hyped. On “Brick City” Nokia sounds the most comfortable and in-pocket than any other time on 1992 Deluxe, using a slightly panicky, exaggerate flow similar to what we hear Nicki Minaj sometimes use.

Cons: 

There are a bit too many recycled flows on this album for my liking. I feel like I’ve heard other rappers rap these cadences much more enjoyably. There are times on this album that, if you aren’t a fan of Nokia, you’d think this is someone’s very first rap project based on the quality of the bars and flows, and how basic and generic some of these songs and concepts are. The entire album isn’t like this, but it happens enough times to make you skip songs. One of my main gripes is that it happens early in the album like on track #2 “Tomboy” which will undoubtedly turn listeners away before they get to the strong track sequencing in tracks 1 through 12.

Nokia has unique humor and a knack for various vocal delivery styles. To me, it’s clear that she has musical direction, but just needs some fine-tuning. There are spurts of good throughout this album but it is mixed in with some mediocrity, too. “Chinese Slippers” is a good example – a banging, West Coast inspired beat with a funny hook “Kentucky Fried Chicken and the Pizza Hut/ McDONALLLDS McDONALLLDS” (this is GOLD!) but it is plagued by an awkward, underwhelming first verse that makes you want to end the song.

Verdict

Princess Nokia is talented in that she can also bounce from a slower, boom-bap jazzy beat to a triple-BPM instrumental with style and ease. She should hone-in these strengths and wrap a tight concept around her next project. A good A&R or producer will be able to help Nokia create a good sound and a great project instead of an average one that will be forgotten amidst its other contemporary Hip-Hop releases.

With that being said, NOKIA, if you need help or an extra ear for your next project, hit my line!

BEST TRACKS: Kitana, Brujas, Goth Kid, Green Line (Wiki?)

Proposed singles: Kitana, Mine, Tomboy

“MINE” SHOULD HAVE BEEN A SINGLE AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN TITLED BUNDLES.

“MINE” SHOULD HAVE BEEN A SINGLE AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN TITLED BUNDLES.

“MINE” SHOULD HAVE BEEN A SINGLE AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN TITLED BUNDLES.

-@ELBOOMBIP

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