Noname is a socially and culturally savvy lyricist who tackles race, sex, politics and other complex topics over jazzy, soulful beats.
• The Chicago native started writing poetry in high school after taking a creative writing class. This led to her participating in local open mics and slam-poetry competitions.
• Through open mics, she met rising local hip-hop artists like Chance the Rapper and Mick Jenkins. In 2013, she earned widespread attention by appearing on Chance’s Acid Rap mixtape.
• Her debut mixtape, Telefone, arrived in 2016—more than three years after it was first announced. The critically acclaimed collection features songs meant to feel like open-ended telephone conversations.
• She again earned rave reviews for her 2018 debut album, Room 25.
• In 2019, Noname said she was quitting music due to her discomfort performing for predominantly white audiences. That same year, she launched a book club to highlight progressive writings from people of colour and members of the LGBTQ community.
• Noname’s 2020 single “Song 33” references George Floyd—the unarmed Black man whose death at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked nationwide protests—and slain Black Lives Matter activist Oluwatoyin Ruth “Toyin” Salauwas.
• “Song 33” was a response to J. Cole’s “Snow on the Bluff”, which seemed to criticize Noname. She later apologized for “Song 33”, explaining that her intention was to draw attention back to important issues.