By Monica Pizzo

Finals are coming up soon. Tensions are high, stress is eating away at us and staying up throughout the night is making all of us a little more touchy than usual. Sometimes during this stressful period we need to take a step back to relax and reconnect with ourselves. Noname’s tunes can help you do just that, her honesty and incredibly chill sound makes you groove and relax, opening you back up to a side of you finals can sometimes take away.

Noname is a rapper from the South Side of Chicago who began her journey at the Harold Washington Library. The program YOUmedia encouraged her to tap into her poetic side. Born Fatima Warner, her love of verse and Def Poetry Jam on YouTube inspired her to write and create, opening her up to a world that would eventually lead rap.

She grew up alongside other breakout Chicago rappers such as Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, Saba and Mick Jenkins. She and her peers would perform their poetry and raps at Young Chicago Authors, an open mic night designed to push teens to hone their creative skills.

She told Vulture, “I was not thinking about rapping at all, and then I just got really inspired by everyone who was around me. We would freestyle, we would cipher after every open mic.”

Noname appeared on Chance’s popular albums Acid Rap and Coloring Book, her distinct style sparking people to ask for projects of her own so they could continue listening to her bouncey flow. She’s also been featured in her peers’ tunes, such as “Comfortable” by Mick Jenkins. Her community allowed her to flourish and break into the world of rap, but her poetic style can sometimes separate her from the conversation.

Noname’s lyrics aren’t militant or necessarily hype and her wordplay is still incredibly complex, which is why sometimes people classify her more so as a poet than a rapper. She told Vulture, “There’s people who have broke the mold of what rap can be, sonically. Like Future, that whole wave of stretching what rap looks like sonically — they do it and still get to be rappers.”

Noname’s dedication to her wordcraft made fans wait until 2016 to listen to her debut album Telefone. This album features tracks that display her distinct style mixed with chill tracks, multiple layers of harmony and the voices of other rappers that both contrast and compliment her style incredibly well.

Her poetic style is not absent from this album. She writes poignant raps ranging from topics such as the ever ominous death of people on Chicago’s streets to an imaginary relationships between a mother and her aborted child. Her raps are moving in a way that is so distinct to her.

Noname is a breakout rapper who is redefining what it means to be an artist. People often forget that artists still have the capability to create smart and poignant songs, but she reminds us that genuine and honest artists are still out there. To experience her honesty, click here to be connected to her Spotify page.

Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Noname’s Facebook page.

Monica Pizzo is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at mpizzo@terpmail.umd.edu. 

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