An Underrated Artist You Need to Hear: Noname

Up and coming artist, Noname (real name Fatimah Warner), is someone you need to hear. She is unknown by most, but as a young female rapper from inner-city Chicago, her verses are something that we can all relate to.

She was always extremely gifted in writing and poetry and was childhood best friends with Chance the Rapper. The two grew extremely close while they were in a poetry program together called the YOUmedia Program for Young Creatives at Chicago’s Harold Washington Library. Chance featured her on his Acid Rap album, in the song “Lost.”

She competed in multiple free verse stand ups and poetry slams before getting into her rapping career. She finally decided to release a mixtape called Telefone, which raises female rap to the next level. Her skills in poetry allow her to embrace the meaning behind her raps, “Her skipping cadence and ability to dance around words while establishing that each one is equally important are poet's skills, making you listen to every word without ever seeming overdetermined or obvious. You’re just gripped, trying to catch everything coming at you—and Noname gives you a lot.”


The intimate themes behind her verses are extremely refreshing for the modern collegiate to hear. Instead of rapping about sex appeal or money, she raps about her place in the universe. As a Pitchfork review liked to summarize her album, “Centered around transformative telephone conversations she’s had as she’s grown up, Telefone presents an introvert’s path to adulthood in careful detail and emotional intelligence.”

She raps about her interactions with other humans, like falling in love, saying goodbye, being oppressed, addiction, losing a life, standing out and having someone to fall back on. “It is a gospel-informed album, suffused with the same hope borne out of grief.” Another lens in which her rap is written is through black femininity; she raps not only about the suppression of being a person of color, but being a woman of color. Throughout her mixtape, she reflects on the trials of the generations of women who’ve given so much to the same world that destroyed them. These touching stories, so often obscured or silenced, are presented on center stage. She balances the joys, the hope and the determination with all the pain and burdens.

Her mixes involve the use of light and sonically pleasing instruments, like the xylophone and delicate piano, with the occasional wind chime and electric beat. Not only is it enjoyable and easy to listen to, but the words themselves provide a sense of comfort that isn’t usually found in most R&B albums. “Noname is not drowning in misery but instead staying afloat and assuring you that you can, too”.

So go ahead, do yourself a favor and toss her a listen: