Noname raps about consumerism to representation on ‘Song 31’


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In preparation for her upcoming 2019 tour, independent Chicago hip-hop and R&B artist Noname released a new single, “Song 31.” This marks her first piece of new music since the recent release of her critically acclaimed album, Room 25, which was her follow up to her 2016 debut mixtape Telefone.

In “Song 31,” Noname does not stray far from the sound she cultivated on her last album. Instead, she manages to voice her thoughts on consumer culture and social issues in a way that feels refreshingly unique.

The song features a chorus sung by her secret weapon, Phoelix. His vocals beautifully compliment Noname’s silky smooth flows that are monotonous at times, but perfectly balanced by Phoelix’s.

With “Song 31,” Noname continues to prove that she has some real lyrical chops, paving her own spot in today’s music industry as an artist unlike any other. Containing a soulful jazziness in its sound and a spoken word element in its intellect, “Song 31” is worth attuning your ears to. With such consistently clever lyrics, Noname proves that she has something to say on all her tracks — “Song 31” is no exception.

Highlighting the consequences of consumer culture, she beautifully raps, “I sell pain for profit not propaganda/ I know cancer’s origins link to Santa/ I know Santa’s origins link to money/ Mass production of cattle, slaughtering for the yummy.” Her demeanor in delivering these poignant, poetic lyrics is so gentle and smooth that it almost masks the seriousness of the topics she discusses, but her lyrics have real truth behind them.

“Now I binge watch Atlanta/ No more TV representation from a Kelsey Grammer/ Let’s toast to n****s getting checks who work behind the camera,” she raps unapologetically. While making references to pop culture, Noname sings her praises of black representation not just in front of the camera but behind it as well.

Her insightful lyrics are fearless and not futile—they provide commentary and imagery on contemporary and personal issues in a beautiful way. The jazzy instrumental only compliments the lyricism of her words, providing a whimsical contrast to the weighty lyrics. Almost the entire last minute of the song features only the instrumental. It feels like it lasts a bit too long, but only because you are left desiring more witty lyricism. “Song 31” showcases Noname’s strengths as a musician as she proves to be a promising, prodigious artist who continues to serve the power she started her career with.

Contact Julia Mears at [email protected].