Introduction to Noname
"I've watched so many of these so I'm like 'Man I wanna be as good as T-Pain,'" Fatimah Warner says to a round of laughter. She is performing at NPR's Tiny Desk Concert's and she wears a smile above a layer of heavy lyrics about her beginnings, abortions and falling in love.
Noname doesn't exactly have a "flow," which can be defined as the rhythm, rhyme and rhyme schemes in a hip-hop lyric and how they intertwine. She talks in "scramble-think," referring to the clever metaphors she throws in her songs like "Reality Check" and "Casket Pretty." Her style can be described as a train of thought that is applied to a beat with sprinkles of back-up vocals.
Longtime fans would be familiar with her verse on a song with fellow Chicago native, Chance the Rapper. In the verse, Noname looks within to her struggles with depression giving a fresh voice and face to the Chicago rap scene. She allows audiences to follow her story consistently as she paints a visceral visual with her lyrics: "I wanna stop seeing my psychiatrist / She said ‘pill pop, baby girl cause I promise you, you tweaked / The empty bottled loneliness, this happiness you seek.’"
She appears again on Chance's Finish Line/Drown, she appears again, testifying about her faith and how it has helped her. The lyric, "I love you/I love you/You looking holy like Mama/You made a church out of feathers/So when she fly to the Father/She know the choir gon' follow and all the offering paid" is a testament to Noname's lyrical talent. In the rap, she plays on the phrase "birds of a feather flock together" and the idea that when one member of a community dies, the rest of community is hopeful that they will be reunited again.
When analyzing what she is capable of through her ability to shape words to tell a story, Noname's talent is undeniable. From her start in youth poetry programs in Chicago to her own tour and Tiny Desk Concert, Noname has definitely made a name for herself.
Photo Credit: Graphite Publications, Vice