Noname mesmerized fans and critics alike with the release of Room 25, showcasing the talent that lies within her spirit and physical vessel. Throughout the album, the Chicago-based artist filled the whimsical production with smoothly delivered catch-as-catch-can lyricism and irresistible melodies, proving to all those who questioned her skill set that, indeed, Noname could rap. It came as no surprise to anyone who pressed play on the 11-track project that Room 25 found it’s proper placement on most everyone’s EotY lists.
As the album is still in the midst of receiving playbacks and praise, Noname started off the next trip around the sun by liberating a new loosie in the form of “Song 31”.
With the new release, Noname continues to exhibit the vastness of her poetry, littering the record with layered content; the bars that make up the song containing immense depth and substance. While so much of Noname’s music – and music in general – comes from a place of pain and trauma, consumers are attracted to that emotional drama. We indulge upon the suffering of those creating the art, hoping to relate and find inspiration in their words.
This calls into question our nature as consumers – do we care about the person behind the music or are we only interested in what they have to offer us? Do we want to see them heal, find peace and survive? Or are we merely here for their music, for their pain, and are we willing to watch them self-destruct and then move on to the next artist who comes along singing through their darkness?
On “Song 31”, Noname is well aware of this ongoing cycle of consuming the trauma of artists, revealing she’s using her pain for profit – telling her stories and shedding light on her experiences, knowing full well how the system works. And, of course, the system has not been designed for someone like Noname to prosper and thrive.
Which is why she has to find her own way to “win”.
Selling her pain for profit is one way she’s able to, in a sense, beat the system. And, it’s even more of a win if she’s already been able to make peace with her personal trauma. If she’s moved on and healed enough to relive that trauma in song, without letting it eat away at her, then it doesn’t matter if people are only here for her pain. She’ll get her bag and keep creating the music she wants to create.
While Room 25 ran the spectrum of drawing forth emotional responses from listeners, “Song 31” serves almost as a mirror, held up for all of us to take a look at ourselves and examine what our intentions are. ‘Cause Noname already knows what she’s doing and why she’s here. Now she’s asking listeners to spend a little time focusing on personal accountability.