I conducted this research mainly by watching the few primary-source interviews that are available online and by reading the articles on various websites. Noname likes to keep her life private so there is not much information on her, but I chose to do her for my final artist profile because her music has an influence on many people, and she is an example of someone who came up organically in the Chicago music scene without a record label or famous relatives.
Noname is an influential female rapper in the Chicago hip hop scene who gains her popularity from the relevance and connectivity of her music, and from anticipation during the waiting time between her projects.
Introduction & Childhood
Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Noname is an up and coming rapper, poet, and producer. Born Fatimah Nyeema Warner on September 18, 1991, as the child of a bookstore owner and book distributor, she grew up in Chicago. Noname developed her music style during poetry writing years and through her upbringing listening to blues musicians Buddy Guy and Howlin’ Wolf, as well as artists such as Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, and Avril Lavigne. Her current style can be described as classic R&B/hip-hop fusion.
She began her music career in 2010 with the name “Noname Gypsy,” but she was met with opposition to the name because of how insensitive “gypsy” might seem to Romani people. Noname got her start into fame when she was featured on the song “Lost” by Chance the Rapper on his mixtape Acid Rap, which brought her into the limelight. Before she released her own music, she was featured on various records by people in the Chicago music scene. She credits the Chicago music community with encouraging her to release the poetry she turned into music that she used to make for fun. As a result of her coming up in the Chicago music scene, she likes to feature other up-and-coming Chicago artists on her records to bring them to fame.
Noname is currently an independent artist who travels with a band which includes keys, bass, and guitar players. She says she would consider signing with a label if she finds that they meet her interests, but until then she will stay independent.
As a quiet, reserved artist, she does not enjoy the spotlight and does not frequently release music. “Noname” comes from the idea of not being so readily in people’s faces all the time. Interviews with her are scarcely available and she typically declines the request to participate.
Some of Noname’s artist influences include Jay Electric, Andre 3000, Spike Lee’s early works, Toni Morrison, and James Baldwin. Her early artistic work was in poetry, and she gained interest in rap from her peers at her after-school program, YOUmedia Program for Young Creatives at Chicago’s Harold Washington Library. This program is where her career began.
Telefone is Noname’s debut mixtape that she released in 2016. It was in the works since 2012, but unforeseen circumstances caused it to be released later. Telefone is a mix of soul and jazz-inflected rhythms.
Room 25 is Noname’s first full-length album. She released it September 14, 2018, after much anticipation from her fans.
Bye Bye Baby-
“Ask me why she hesitated, almost waited, waiting room
Play date up to heaven soon, soon I will see the King
He reminds me, some give presents before they’re even ready
I could see that she loves me, I know her heart is heavy”
This song is a duet between a mother and her unborn child who she has decided to abort. The message is very sweet and loving, and it envokes emotion in the listener.
“All of my n***** is casket pretty
Ain’t no one safe in this happy city
I hope you make it home
I hope to God that my tele’ don’t ring”