Wavy Spice: Harlem Is Burning


Wavy Spice: Harlem Is Burning


Hip-hop firebrand Wavy Spice is setting boundaries and barriers ablaze with her highly flammable music and incendiary worldview. Photography by James Orlando. Styling by Alexandra Marzella.

“I’m a shithead, I’m a punk, I’m a raver, I’m a slacker, I’m a stoner, I’m lazy,” declares Wavy Spice. She also happens to be the reigning duchess of New York’s experimental underground music scene. Born Destiny Nicole, the Harlem native raps about drugs, men, and growing up in the inner city as a young Puerto Rican woman. Her shows, which could unfold at an unmarked DIY venue or at MoMA PS1, have the feel of riot grrrl throwdowns, with the 21 year old hurling words of female empowerment using a voice that can flip between bratty cute and a bad-bitch huff. She gained notoriety with foggy ’90s throwback, “Bitch I’m Posh,” but it’s in her recent metamorphosis into Princess Nokia, the supernatural hood fairy who sings everything from New Age R&B to tribal hymns, where the depth of her bravado becomes clear. And it doesn’t really matter that the self-described poster girl of “cunt wave” doesn’t have a record deal yet, because she’s going through life on no one’s terms but her own.

I’m a human, I was born out of my mother’s vagina. I exist in the outside world. I’m not just this pixel-perfect pretty brown girl on the Internet with little titties and cute pictures. Wavy Spice is deeper than that. Wavy Spice connects people. Wavy Spice makes girls feel good about themselves. There’s way better rappers than me, there’s way better singers than me. But I have a voice and I get to take part in a dialogue between young people.

This is the twenty-fucking-first century. Our role models as women are not supposed to be promoting chaste behavior and modest clothes while staying quiet. That’s not what a woman does, that’s not what a woman represents. You don’t have to cover your body to be classy; you can be whoever the fuck you want to be. If you wanna be a slut, be a slut. If you wanna be a doctor, be a doctor. If you wanna be a lawyer, be a lawyer. If you wanna be a man, be a man. If you wanna be a woman, great. As long as you’re happy being who you are.


Every person wants to be a ‘nigga’ but nobody wants to be a ‘nigger.’ And I say that with blood on my hands. Black culture is very, very beautiful, and it makes me very, very sad the way I see it being ruined and dumbed down. Black women are not ratchet; we’re regal, we’re beautiful, we’re successful, we’re intelligent, we’re intellectual. A group of oppressed people don’t need to be degraded more than they already have.

Wavy Spice has been reborn into Princess Nokia, an even more beautiful musician. As Princess Nokia I can project the multi-dimensional aspects of myself that I could not express with the name Wavy Spice. I can venture into any realm of music or character of my choosing without confusion. I’m making worldly music that will talk to all kinds of people: Banjee girls in Harlem, teen brides in the Middle East, gay boys in East Asia. Labels no longer matter. My new music is cosmic and three dimensional, and it will really speak of who Princess Nokia is. Princess Nokia is sound. It is progression. It is all that I am.

There’s all this talk about how the youth is fucked, and we’re going to hell, and we’re all Internet kids. We are Internet kids! But we’re really smart and special and spiritually-minded. I think my generation is a beautiful representation of fusion. Kids can be whatever they want to be. I have a lot of friends in high school who are already traveling the world. And I have a lot of friends who are 28 years old and just finding out what they wanna do in life. That’s what’s so special about my generation.


I have maybe three or four songs online. What I do is play high-powered punk shows. Going on stage, performing, making people feel good, singing songs that people can’t get online—that’s really cool. Wavy Spice is everything that’s good about underground music. And what’s good about underground music is you can do whatever you want. When I wanna sign papers to be a mainstream artist on a major label then maybe I won’t be so random and weird. But do you know how many mainstream artists wish they had the kind of range I have? If I want to change my name, if I want a rebirth, I can. That’s the essence of Wavy Spice—she’s multi-realm.

If you wanna know why I’m in a magazine, it’s because I’m making women feel great about themselves. My ultimate goal, first and foremost, is to spread love. It’s what I do in art. Yes, I am a professional musician and multimedia artist, but I’m way more of a people’s artist. I’m really setting out to put that emotional feel in art and music that young people can connect to. When I perform a show or make music, or when I’m talking to someone on the Internet, it’s this projection of higher vibrational love that I feel is contributing to a more harmonic world. It’s a small scale, but it’s still a contribution.