Hearing Aide: Princess Nokia ‘Metallic Butterfly’

Princess Nokia released Metallic Butterfly on 14 Dec. 2018. The album travels through most of the musical spectrum from radio pop to modern trap with glimpses of Afro-Cuban and soul, tied together by obscure, but smooth sing along – friendly choruses.

It’s difficult to say whether the public should treat Metallic Butterfly as a new body of work. Nokia created the album before 2014 and had distribution under Nokia’s original moniker, Wavy Spice — however, the work went largely unnoticed at the time and was pulled from shelves and the internet until now. The 2018 edition launched with redux packaging, promotion, and new tracks.

This project stays unique but maintains accessibility. “Earth is My Playground” and “Versace Hottie” are true to their bouncy titles, both carrying the feel of an electronic rave. The melody of “Hands Up” tributes Lana Del Ray’s sultry croon, and the boom-bap percussion on “Seraphims” is a cousin to J. Dilla’s frantic work with A Tribe Called Quest. Most songs find the perfect balance between vintage and modern with 808 sub hits weaved in and out.

The album slows down on “Young Girls,” a chillstep track where Nokia addresses modern issues relevant to #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, discussing her feelings about the entrusted responsibility of women to be the “patrons of the earth.” “They need their own respect,” she says.

The slow, but progressive side continues with “Biohazard Butterfly” which introduces further melodies and encourages her listener to not settle for a toxic relationship. “She don’t wear no chain, play no game, refuse to be a slave to a romance rage.”

Although albums are typically praised when they fit a continuous theme, it is the “all over the place” manic feel of this body of work that gives it such strength. Although it may have been recorded earlier in her career, this could certainly be Princess Nokia’s strongest album to date.

Metallic Butterfly is available on all major streaming platforms.

Key Tracks: Cybiko, Biohazard Butterfly, Anomaly