Princess Nokia reclaims her alt roots in the video for ‘Morphine’
Self professed “weird girl that’s running shit” PRINCESS NOKIA is an artist who is unafraid of exploring all facets of her identity and culture through her music. In previous releases she’s used her genre bending flows to highlight the rap history of NYC, afro-futurism, and her Latinx heritage. Now in her video for ‘Morphine’, the latest single off her album A Girl Cried Red, Princess Nokia leans into her teenage years listening to PARAMORE, wearing heaps of eyeliner and raving out at warehouse parties.
It’s an alt music scene mash up of a track, starting with some sad girl emo rap and evolving into a banger fit to light up any candy rave. All of the emo rap boxes are checked: monotone pop punk/emo style delivery, emotive yet joyously cliche lyricism, trap style production. Tick tick tick. But alongside the high NRG outro and heartwarming visuals it takes on a whole new level of meaning.
The video, directed by Travis Libin and the rapper herself, sees Princess Nokia and her cybergoth tribe moving out from under the underpass and onto a rooftop, proudly voguing, industrial dancing and hula hooping. Her posse aren’t your stereotypical goth ravers, made up of entirely QTPOC with this video – and in fact her whole album – reclaiming her position in these subcultures.
The final minute of the track builds into a glorious, trance inspired closer, featuring more cheesy lyricism from Princess Nokia that just feels so pure and genuine. The ravers dance in slow mo, seeming totally carefree, revelling in their community while being unapologetically themselves.
Compared to her previous work, ‘Morphine’ and A Girl Cried Red is a whole new direction for Princess Nokia, but doesn’t feel unexpected. Even within this track she covers two disparate genres, but blends them seamlessly and presents her offerings with genuine connection to the scenes. Across her music and her self image, Princess Nokia embraces that she is multifaceted and that is something that we should celebrate as she does in her art.
WORDS BY HOLLY O’NEILL
PHOTO BY ALBERTO VARGAS