A little bit of soul. A little bit of rap. A little bit of weed. A little bit of love. A little bit of rap about love for weed.
“First things first, I miss you
And your paper thin lips
The way I kiss you
The way you hit back – smack
Why you gotta love me so hard
Bae, I’m already faded
All dressed up in your smoke
Favourite vacant parking spot
I sparked the bark
And lit the tree
The aftermath in after dark
Was all the love of sympathy, you feel me?”
– Take You Back by Noname
If lush extended metaphors, sarcasm and alliteration creating flows in the rarest forms were one track then Noname is years deep into Hype Magazine’s music submission emails. There is so much depth to this artist that one only wishes to come across. It’s her ability to captivate her listener and leave them wanting more that is day by day building a nation of loyal Noname supporters – me included. You see, when you listen to either a Noname song or feature, you know exactly what you’re getting: verses wrapped tight with lovely wordplay, a message and to top it off her sweet delivery on a slower, more soulful inspired beat style. Many rappers struggle getting a variety of views and themes across on one type of beat – resulting in redundancy in their approach to their songs. However, Noname’s prowess in this area is her saving grace and what places her in a lane of her own right now.
Collaborations on Fleek
So, this piece on Noname has been in the drafts for a while now but for some reason has never been uploaded. Yesterday’s release of Israel is what I think prompted me to actually get to the tweaking and posting. The extremely well received collaboration between Chano and Noname is one of the most beautiful examples of her ability to swiftly dip in and out of verses, connect with the person she’s collaborating with and deliver a dope verse. On Israel, a track about “sparring” or fighting the things in one’s life and relating it to the Bible story of Jacob wrestling with God, Noname has two verses perfectly fit with Chance’s. Her highly conversational tone and flow in this track and many others including Samaritan makes her collaborations feel very natural. Although this might not work with most artists, we haven’t seen a failure or disappointment of a collabo. So, word up to Noname for the smart features.
You’re A Female Rapper, Don’t Rap about That Shit
“Everytime I smoked it looked like everyone was bald
I can see my insecurities depicted in the fog
Run run rabbit, don’t follow the clock
Tic-tac totally undermining your thoughts
I need more exes
I need more hoes
I need less pretend men
I need more clothes
Run run rampant, vapid, acid, candid
Smell too loud, my family couldn’t stand it
A little weed is a little more love”
– Mary Jane Love by Noname
In the “female rap” scene there’s often a huge issue that I frequently come across, and that being lack in original content from the women, more specifically, the underground ones. In fact, in the underground scene in general there’s quite a bit of redundancy in the content we get. Mixtapes with a dream-centered theme and songs about no support are over spilling from our bucket of music. From Noname’s earliest days, she did not conform just as most successful artists in their respective fields have also done. The content is where the very skilled and active rappers including Noname differ. Noname acknowledges stereotypes surrounding being a woman, challenges them and succeeds in her approach. I remember first listening to Hold Me Up and Paradise and just loving the honesty that oozed with every line in both tracks. True comments on her surroundings and experiences providing a solid offering of relatable content with a blend of wit.
Read Between the Paradox
“Another brown boy down
Another mother crying ‘cause another brown boy found
And all you wanna do is smoke weed?
And write songs?
Bang bang sounds like violins
Poverty was made to doorframe all the violence
Knock knock and guess who’s not there
And guess who don’t care
– Sunday Morning by Noname
Sunday Morning is probably Noname’s most paradoxical song – using the beauty of a Sunday morning to address and highlight the evils within the world. What really makes Noname special is her storytelling ability to rap about different things and present it in a very clear way without fully giving it away and letting the beauty of rap and the artistry behind it allow the listener’s mind to interpret it. This is a characteristic and technique within rap that isn’t paid too much attention to at the moment, that she successfully uses quite a lot, so it’s refreshing to say the least.
Just from listening to a few tracks, one can easily tell that Noname isn’t rapping for the millions of listens but rather for the love of rap itself and verbally expressing her feelings and thoughts. This is one artist that I personally wish to see grow even stronger and challenge herself lyrically even more. Her raps “whisper intelligence” and will hopefully keep leaving listeners inspired and more in love with the overlooked beauty in everyday life.