Noname performing in 2017
|Fatimah Nyeema Warner|
September 18, 1991|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
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 Chicago in 2010. In 2013, she gained wider recognition and critical acclaim following her appearance on the track "Lost" from Chance the Rapper's popular mixtape Acid Rap.
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.
Musically and stylistically, Noname has credited Avril Lavigne,Nina Simone, Andre 3000, Kanye West and Missy Elliott as her influences. She cites poets Toni Morrison and Patricia Smith as notable influences on her writing style.
|"The Truth"||2013||Mick Jenkins||Trees & Truths|
|"Lost"||Chance the Rapper||Acid Rap|
|"Comfortable"||2014||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|
|"Finish Line / Drown"||2016||Chance the Rapper, T-Pain, Kirk Franklin, Eryn Allen Kane||Coloring Book|
|"Angles"||Mick Jenkins, Xavier Omar||The Healing Component|
|"Church / Liquor Store"||Saba||Bucket List Project|
|"The Tragedy"||Jeremih, Chance the Rapper||Merry Christmas Lil' Mama|
Artist Noname, from Chicago, said there was a time where she listened to "nothing but Avril Lavigne."