In the video for the catchy tune, Nokia returns to her Harlem roots — and recreates a New York cover —
Are you even from New York? With her new single “No Effort,” Princess Nokia channels the early 2000s vibe — and makes us envious of her puffer jacket-wearing posse as she “reclaims the co-opted aesthetic” and “brings it back to Harlem” in the video.
In the chorus, she raps, “Look at me, so clean, no effort/Ponytail, ripped jeans, no effort.” “Clean face, gold ring, no effort/Irrational, my chain, a lot of pressure.”
The video shows Princess Nokia hanging out with her buddies in an East Harlem park, all wearing North Face puffer coats, showing off their dance abilities and, well, effortless appearance. The film was inspired by a shot from Nancy Jo Sales’ 1996 New York Magazine story “Prep-School Gangsters.” The cover story focused on a group of wealthy students at posh private schools in New York who fetishized hip-hop culture and committed petty crimes.
“I wanted to recreate the shot and portray the beauty of the true inner city [from a] female perspective,” Nokia wrote, “understanding the subject of the article and the humorous contrast of social and economic representation.”
“No Effort” retells the “story of sisterhood and the origins of our backgrounds and upbringings,” according to the rapper. To put it another way, it’s a “love letter to the hood girls.” Sebastian Sdaugui, a New York City-based film and music video filmmaker who died in February, was honored in this video.
The song is the first taste of a “new era. new music. same me,” as Nokia put it. Last year, she released the single “It’s Not My Fault,” and in 2020, she will release the albums Everything Is Beautiful and Everything Sucks. In April, Nokia will play at Coachella, and in May, she will open for Haim at Madison Square Garden.