Princess Nokia flexes on "G.O.A.T." And she deserves it, too: coming off the explosive 1992 mixtape and riding high on a worldwide fanbase cemented by a blistering world tour, the New York rapper has earned a ride on her own coattails. And if the accompanying video for "G.O.A.T.," Destiny Frasqueri's first track since 1992, is any indication, Princess Nokia is enjoying her life at the top. Lounging on the three-wheel Polaris Slingshot as comfortably as she luxuriates over Wally West's icy throne of a beat, Frasqueri issues one-liners like edicts from a gold-bedecked (and gold-betoothed) monarch. Clad in "skinny jeans and a studded belt," Princess Nokia reminds us that she's become "that weird girl that's running shit."
When she stares at the camera and declares that she "changed rap forever, man," it's no coincidence that she includes the word "man." Eyes directed at the male-dominated, patriarchal industry, Frasqueri sets her sights on label bosses and other suits that stifle and marginalize femme voices, and brandishes normative signifiers of both masculinity and femininity to explode them both. Atop the rubble s(p)its Princess Nokia, festooned with a Yankees Cap and Air Force 1s.
According to every search-engine surveyed in this study, all that comes to mind when prompted with the phrase: “South African Rapper” is a flood of viral Die Antwoord videos and interviews. Prolific Johannesburg-based rapper/graphic designer OkMalumKoolKat-- equipped with glaring creative intent and a rock-hard work-ethic-- is determined to change this. “iJusi”, the first single off his debut EP, Holy Oxygen I, features the same stream of carefully-articulated poetic bullets that first garnered international interest on his collaboration with LV, but delivers them in sectioned-off quadrants that build steadily towards synth-drenched culminations. With the help of some state-of-the-art visuals that feature an interesting take on the futuristic aesthetic and his very own arsenal of terms and ideologies, OkMalumKoolKat is well on his way to establishing himself as a certified character in the hip-hop universe.
Houston-based noise-rap pioneer B L A C K I E ALL CAPS WITH SPACES, known for spluttering ruthless prophecies over a cacophony of audio torture, is constantly striving to bring something new to the table with his releases. When he went unplugged on Gen, the stripped-back production put unprecedented emphasis on his vocals, forcing listeners into a face-to-face confrontation with their captor. “None Above”, the first cut from his latest album, takes a completely different approach, burying B L A C K I E so deep in the mix that he is forced to scream his inconvenient truths louder and more passionately than ever as he is hopelessly smothered by four walls of noise. The video fittingly features a dejected woman who is all but lost in a stirring vortex of colour.