Metallic Butterfly (independent) Rating: NNN
Princess Nokia is 21-year-old Harlem native Destiny Frasqueri, a fast-talking, self-styled postmodern anime superhero whose music floats in an ethereal space between the digital world's glistening futurism and the realities of life in New York City.
On her self-released debut album, Frasqueri and producer OWWWLS blend an array of styles and BPMs encompassing drum 'n' bass, ambient, scratchy trip-hop and West African rhythms into an enjoyably daydreamy aesthetic.
Like Mykki Blanco, Janelle Monáe and M.I.A., Princess Nokia is attempting to invent an original style. Her approach is genre-agnostic, and she moves fluidly between singing and rapping. But individually, the songs - especially those borrowing from 90s genres, like Dragons (drum 'n' bass) and Biohazard Butterfly (trip-hop) - revel more in convention than reinvention.
What shines brightest is Princess Nokia's fun and unapologetically nerdy love of anime and fantasy, and the confidence with which she delivers her overall vision.
Top track: Dragons