Noname is one of the most talented and creative lyricists in the game, and she just returned to prove that with her new album Sundial. Not only that, but it's her first in five years since her excellent LP Room 25 back in 2018, and follows a lot of reflection, growth, and unfortunately, injustice. Moreover, on her new track "Namesake" off of this new project, the Chicago rapper tackles the systemic issues of the NFL, and calls out a few massive musicians who worked with the organization. For those unaware, the sports giant is not a huge cog in the military entertainment complex, but amid protests from player Colin Kaepernick for police brutality and systemic racism, the league essentially cut his career short.
Furthermore, Noname specifically disses Jay-Z, who partnered with the NFL in 2019 to manage its live music events and to its social justice programs. In addition, the 31-year-old addresses multiple artists who performed at the Super Bowl despite the organization's misguided ties. These are Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé, and Rihanna, who have all advocated for racial justice at one point in their careers, or throughout all of it. However, Fatimah Nyeema Warner also points the blame on herself as well, hinting that these are much more nuanced and difficult issues than a simple criticism conveys.
"Read in between the line at the crime scene / I ain’t f***ing with the NFL or Jay-Z,” Noname raps. “Propaganda for the military complex, the same gun that shot lil’ Terry / Out West, the same gun that shot Senair in the West Bank / We all think the Super Bowl is the best thing." Then, she swaps out Kendrick, Beyonce, and Rihanna's names in the following line, repeated thrice. "Go, [artist], go! Watch the fighter jet fly high / War machine gets glamorized, we play the game to pass the time." Finally, the Telefone MC flips the script on herself. "Go, Noname, go! Coachella stage got sanitized / I said I wouldn’t perform for them and somehow I still fell in line… f**k!"
Meanwhile, considering that these are all artists with Black heritage at the least, it's at least a compromise to see them perform on this stage for multiple years in a row. However, the issues that Noname speaks on are much larger than a performance. To call it a diss would be misleading; it's about accountability, power, personal gain, and the systemic issues that drive artists between a rock and a hard place. Hopefully there's been a lot of change behind the scenes that can eventually translate to more overt battles against Black plight. For more news and the latest updates on Noname, come back to HNHH.
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