You will likely recognize Destiny Frasqueri by her stage name Princess Nokia–the New York rapper whose explosive offhanded lyricism comes through in spades in expanded mixtape, 2017’s 1992 Deluxe. However, before Princess Nokia was standing atop New York’s underground scene with tracks like “Kitana” and “Tomboy,” she found herself establishing a foothold in the world of experimental, avant-garde music with her debut mixtape Metallic Butterfly.
The debut mixtape, originally released in 2014, sees its first ever reissue and expansion, via Rough Trade Records. In addition to being available for the first time ever on streaming services, Metallic Butterfly also includes three bonus tracks from the era: “Anomaly,” “Earth Is My Playground,” and “Versace Hottie.” Beyond serving as a much-clamored for addition from Princess Nokia’s back catalog, Metallic Butterfly is perhaps the artist’s and the underground’s most adventurous release to date.
In twelve exceptional tracks, Princess Nokia proves herself as more than just a critically-acclaimed rapper, as she leaps from a range of influences that run the gamut of everything from Afro-Caribbean beats, ambient, to trip-hop. It very much feels like a project only capable of the Princess of Nokia of then–a Björk-obsessed NYC raver kid with a penchant for all things fringe. On the wealth of influences that originally went into Metallic Butterfly, Princess Nokia shared in a series of tweets,
“‘Metallic Butterfly’ isn’t a new album-It’s the album that started it all. My genesis, my beginning and the first time I introduced myself to the world as Princess Nokia. ‘Metallic Butterfly’ is an experimental album that was inspired by many different elements of music and subculture. When the music industry wanted me to rap, I chose to be different and show the world who I really was. ‘Metallic Butterfly’ was way ahead of its time. It featured trip-hop, jungle, R&B Neo Folk, adult contemporary, grime, and Afro Caribbean Canto. It’s visual and audio aesthetics were deep-rooted in anime, cosplay, witchcraft, feminism, and cyber goth/rave culture.”
Metallic Butterfly exists in a grand expanse, not giving itself over to a particular trend or timeframe. It fulfilled Princess Nokia’s wish to create a project that would introduce the world to her as not a rapper but as an artist of many facets–an artist floating through the ether, grasping at the distinctive connecting threads that shaped her world and upbringing.
Listen to Metallic Butterfly below:
Princess Nokia also shared an intimate letter that was written on the day of Metallic Buterrly’s original release. Read the full letter below.