Noname performing in 2017
|Fatimah Nyeema Warner|
September 18, 1991|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Genres||Hip hop, jazz rap, neo soul|
Fatimah Nyeema Warner (born September 18, 1991), better known by her stage name Noname, is an American rapper and poet. Warner is from the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, where she began rapping and performing slam poetry in 2010. In 2013, she gained wider recognition following her appearance on the track "Lost" from Chance the Rapper's popular mixtape Acid Rap.
Noname released her debut mixtape, Telefone, on July 31, 2016, to widespread critical acclaim. Her debut album, Room 25, was released on September 14, 2018; it also received universal acclaim.
Noname grew up in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago. She was raised by her grandparents; as a teenager, she listened to blues musicians Buddy Guy and Howlin' Wolf, and spent time in her mother's bookstore. She first started writing poetry after taking a creative writing class in high school. As a teen, she spent time in the YOUMedia project--a space for young artists to create and network--then based in the Harold Washington Library. There, she befriended many local talents, including Chance the Rapper.
Noname's interest in poetry led her to compete in local open mics and slam poetry competitions; she placed third in Chicago's annual Louder than a Bomb competition. Noname gradually turned her talents to freestyle rapping with friends, collaborating with many local Chicago artists including Chance the Rapper, Saba, Mick Jenkins, and Ramaj Eroc.
In 2013, she appeared on Chance the Rapper's second mixtape, Acid Rap, contributing a verse to the track "Lost". She later contributed a verse for the song "Finish Line/Drown" from his 2016 mixtape Coloring Book. On December 18, 2016, she appeared with Chance the Rapper on Saturday Night Live. She announced her first tour on November 13, 2016.
Noname initially used the stage name "Noname Gypsy", which she chose as a teenager when she was transitioning from poetry to music, believing that "gypsies were very nomadic, just not about staying in one space for a long time" On March 18, 2016, she officially dropped the "Gypsy" half of the name after her cousin Ishmael Robinson informed her of its racial connotation. She announced her name change on Twitter, claiming she was unaware of the negative connotations of the term "gypsy" and did not want to offend Romani people. In a 2016 interview with The Fader, she explained her current stage name, following the change:
I try to exist without binding myself to labels. I'm not really into labels at all, even the way I dress; I usually don't wear anything with a name brand. For me, not having a name expands my creativity. I'm able to do anything. Noname could potentially be a nurse, Noname could be a screenwriter. I'm not limited to any one category of art or other existence, on a more existential level.
Noname released her first mixtape, Telefone, on July 31, 2016, which she spent three years producing.Telefone was Noname's way of introducing herself to the world through songs presented as open ended telephone conversations. The album is centered around important telephone conversations that Noname has had over the years. Her rap speaks of black women's pain and also highlights the struggles of growing up in Chicago. The album was originally released as a free download on bandcamp.com; it was later released on vinyl in September 2017.
Telefone received overwhelmingly positive reviews from music critics. Rolling Stone dubbed it one of 2016's "most thought-provoking hip-hop."Stereogum wrote that on Noname possessed "a potency and urgency in her complicated, spoken word-esque cadences and subdued delivery that escapes many of her more animated peers."Consequence of Sound concluded that "the louder her music is played, the brighter her cadence glows, giving her lyrics a type of 3D craft that makes Telefone a diary of lessons too relevant to keep to yourself."
In October 2016, Noname and fellow Chicago native Saba collaborated to produce "Church/Liquor Store", a song that explores the Westside of Chicago where liquor stores sit directly next to places of worship. Noname critiques the gentrification of the neighborhood and the erasure of crime believed to accompany it.
In August 2018 Noname announced on Twitter that her second album, Room 25, will be released in fall 2018. Recorded in about a month's time, the album chronicles the two years since the release of Telefone, most notably her move from Chicago to Los Angeles and an intense, short-lived relationship.
On the experience, she compared her maturity on Room 25 to Telefone, saying "Telefone was a very PG record because I was very PG. I just hadn't had sex." Unlike Telefone, Room 25 was created due to a financial obligation. Noname said in an interview, "It came to a point where it was, like, I needed to make an album because I need to pay my rent. I could've done another Telefone tour, but I can't play those songs anymore. Like, I could, but I physically hate it because I've just been playing them for so long." Noname paid for the entire album herself using money from touring and guest appearances on Chance the Rapper projects.
The album was released on September 14, 2018; upon release, it received universal acclaim from music critics. El Hunt of NME described the album as "flawless", adding that it is "smartly constructed and laced with intricate subtlety." Rolling Stone declared Noname as "One of the Best Rappers Alive" and included her on a list of "Artists You Need to Know". Briana Younger of Pitchfork designated Room 25 as "Best New Music" and wrote that it is "a transcendent coming-of-age tale built around cosmic jazz and neo-soul, delivered by a woman deeply invested in her interiority and that of the world around her." M. Oliver of PopMatters proclaimed the album to be "vintage neo-soul and future rap hand in hand; a soulful sanctuary for those turned off by the austerity of mainstream mumble rap". She performed a three song medley of "Blaxploitation," "Prayer Song," and "Don't Forget About Me" from the album in her solo television debut on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on October 17, 2018.
Musically and stylistically, Noname has credited Avril Lavigne,Nina Simone, Andre 3000, Kanye West, and Missy Elliott as her influences. She cites the author Toni Morrison and poet Patricia Smith as notable influences on her writing style.
|"The Truth"||2013||Mick Jenkins||Trees & Truths|
|"Lost"||Chance the Rapper||Acid Rap|
|"All Love"||2014||C-Sick, Taylor Bennett, Nick Astro||La Collection|
|"Comfortable"||Mick Jenkins||The Water[s]|
|"Future Plans Pt. III"||Woo Park||Smokes|
|"Warm Enough"||2015||Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiement, J. Cole||Surf|
|"Israel (Sparring)"||Chance the Rapper||N/A|
|"Last Dance"||Chance the Rapper, Lil B||Free (Based Freestyles Mixtape)|
|"Dead Friends"||Kirk Knight, Thundercat||Late Knight Special|
|"I Had Music"||2016||Mont Jake||Shadow|
|"Finish Line / Drown"||Chance the Rapper, T-Pain, Kirk Franklin, Eryn Allen Kane||Coloring Book|
|"Only the Beginning"||theMIND||Summer Camp|
|"VRY BLK"||Jamila Woods||HEAVN|
|"Into You"||Jesse Boykins III||Bartholomew|
|"Angles"||Mick Jenkins, Xavier Omär||The Healing Component|
|"Church / Liquor Store"||Saba||Bucket List Project|
|"Counterfeit"||Phoelix, Chelsea Reject, Saba||Countdown 2 Midnight|
|"The Tragedy"||Jeremih, Chance the Rapper||Merry Christmas Lil' Mama|
|"Kale"||Joseph Chilliams, Supa Bwe||Henry Church|
Artist Noname, from Chicago, said there was a time where she listened to "nothing but Avril Lavigne."