Review: Princess Nokia — A Girl Cried Red

Categories:  The Arts    Music
Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 at 11:07 AM
Review: Princess Nokia — A Girl Cried Red by Livia Homerski

★★☆☆☆

New York City based artist Destiny Frasqueri, more commonly known by her stage name “Princess Nokia” released a trap and emo infused mixtape on April 13.

The mixtape cover features Frasqueri wearing an oversized Slipknot shirt and studded cuff whilst flipping off the camera with a smirk. Just as a picture is worth a thousand words, this cover for the mixtape, titled “A Girl Cried Red,” says that Frasqueri is unapologetically emo and she does not care what you have to say about it.

The album opens with poppy-trap track, "Flowers and Rope" with lyrics detailing depression and suicide. The song begins with bright and muted acoustic guitar before breaking into an infectious trap beat with ad-libs like “Yeah I crash and I burn.” The song layers staccato drum rhythms while Frasqueri drones on about hating herself and being alone.

While the second track, "Your Eyes Are Bleeding" may sound like the precursor to a hospital trip, the title is actually a reference to a refrain from Dance Gavin Dance’s “The Robot With Human Hair Pt.1.” This song, unfortunately doesn’t have the DGD influence I was hoping for, but is absolutely emo and dreary, with lyrics such as: “Everyone I love leaves me when I need them most. My little heart is broken and the world will pay the cost.”

The song includes a piano riff that plays softly as well as finger picked acoustic guitar in drop-d tuning, which is commonly used in metalcore music to give the music a deeper and heavier tone.

"For the Night" is definitely most similar to emo-rappers such as Lil Uzi Vert and the late Lil Peep. Frasqueri uses auto-tune heavily on her vocals and raps for most of the song until the repetitive chorus hits, where she sings “For the night, for the night, state to state, back to back, all the time.”

The high energy chugging of "Look Up Kid" and the acoustic drums helps the album from falling into the repetitive trap of- well, trap music. Although Frasqueri is still singing about depression, this song has some reassurance for “kids... going through something.”

More drop-d fingerpicking makes for a nice “Interlude” on the track of the same name. It’s only preparation for the transition back into trap on "Morphine."

On “Morphine,” a noticeable vocal change is made when Frasqueri momentarily stops channeling the nasally candor of Blink-182’s Tom Delonge. And although the vocals get repetitive and tend to drone throughout the mixtape, at least the lyrics are enunciated, something that is overlooked in the sea of mumble-mouthed rap.

"At the Top" is a feminist rant that establishes Princess Nokia’s clout through her independent and proud lyrics. She claims, “I don't fuck for no clout, I don't beg for no man, I don't care about fame, I just care about bands.” This authenticity rings true throughout the album, as there are really few women making emo-trap mixtapes like this and challenging the drowsy clout culture that has been prevailing in hip-hop lately.

The mixtape closes with "Little Angel” just as the finger picked guitar and pop-punk vocals return. The song seems to be a tribute to a friend who is no longer around, presumably from suicide. With lyrics like “Little boy with your glitter on, play a song and I’d sing along.
Makeup done and your high heels on” it could also be gathered that this person was likely a member of the LGBT community, and reminds us of the harrowing fact that “LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth” according to the Trevor Project.

One of the strongest aspects of the album is that it has crisp and clear production and a cohesive track list. The weakest aspect is the lyrical content. In making something so blatantly emo, there is very little creativity on a majority of the songs and the topics rarely stray away from depression and loneliness.

I really think that had this album come out in 2009, it would be a mixtape for the emo’s of today to either cringe or reminisce upon. Frasqueri stays true to herself and her artistic vision, and even if it yields a very niche album with generic lyrics, it is something to be acknowledged.

Nothing said in this review is meant to make light of mental illness or depression. If you or a loved one struggle with mental illness, please reach out to someone you trust or resources such as:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-274-8255

The Trevor Project Lifeline:  866-488-7386

Stream below:

Livia Homerski can be reached at musics.spectator@gmail.com.

View Our YouTube Channel
Edinboro TV
 
Find Us on Instagram