While Noname does her best to live up to her moniker, she’s not quite as adept at it as she’d like; while far from a household name, she’s made enough waves on social media to garner both fervent supporters of her book club and salty detractors for her online persona. Much of the Chicago rapper’s notoriety over the past year has come from critiquing her peers in entertainment like Beyonce and J. Cole, leading to bouts of backlash from fans of both and the songs “Snow On Tha Bluff” and “Song 33.”
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Noname explains why she so fervently avoids becoming what she calls a “real celebrity” in keeping with her radical philosophies and staunch anti-capitalist beliefs. “I don’t do brand deals, I don’t take advances, and I’m very much a hired, outside contractor,” she says. “A venue hires me to come and play a show, and then I go. I don’t really do photoshoots. They had to convince me to do this. I don’t like doing things that I know are going to build on my celebrity because that’s not ethical to me when I’m trying to be anti-capitalist and also trying to present myself in a specific way. It’s hard to do that, and then be like, ‘Let me do this photoshoot, let me be in Rolling Stone.’”
She also applies this view to her tiff with J. Cole. “The celebrity was bigger than the point I tried to make,” she laments. ‘The celebrity is always the biggest thing.” The problem with this, she thinks, is that it distracts from the civic work she does with the majority of her time. ” “Someone who doesn’t follow Noname, who randomly hears about it, it’s always something messy,” she says. “It’s always like, ‘She came for Beyoncé, she’s in a fight with whoever.’ So their opinion of me is formed around what goes viral, not this shit that I’m doing.”
However, this attention may soon pay off for her, as much of the interview is given to detailing the recording process for Factory Baby, her upcoming third album and first since 2018, as well as her progress on formalizing a space for her book club. Both are currently in the works and she expects them to be ready soon. She says that she could complete the album within two months, while she expects to make many more “revolutionary bops” like “Rainforest.”
You can read the full interview here.