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 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
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 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”, testifying about her faith and
how it has helped her; "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." In the lyrics, 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 made a name for herself.
Photo Credit: Graphite Publications, Vice